WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS!
The movie is advertised as the scariest film you will ever experience. I disagree. It’s not so much scary as it is extremely gory and violent. This is just one f*cked up horror film. I really enjoyed it and I think anyone that goes in expecting nothing but a gore-filled time will enjoy it as well. It doesn’t provide much in the way of story, but I think that should be expected. A film that uses over 50,000 gallons of fake blood isn’t striving for an Oscar. Although, I could honestly see this nominated for its practical effects, as very few special effects were used. The budget for blood and prosthetic limbs on this film had to be astronomical.
The setting is a very over used, but still effective, cabin in the woods in the most rural area of a nameless forest. The opening scene shows a helpless girl being chased down by unknown entities. As she rounds a tree she meets a redneck (by the looks of him). As she awakens from her abrupt sleep, caused by the butt end of a shotgun, she realizes she is tied up and her head covered with a sack. As she calls out for mercy a man steps forth and removes the sack to reveal the basement of the cabin. The man that she trusted most, her father, has done this to her and she doesn’t understand why. He tells her about a horrific incident that she committed. He simply says that the only way to save her is to burn her alive. As he gets closer and closer to striking the match her true nature shows through. This “girl” tied in front of him is no longer his daughter but a demon who thrives on the souls of the living. She, it, begins cursing and flailing as this broken man with nothing left lights the match that sends his only daughter to a better place, or so he hopes.
Several years pass and all is quiet where nightmares seemed to have a life of their own. Mia is having a hard time and her friends want nothing more than to help her get back to a decent life. She has suffered from drug addiction and this is really her last chance at beating it before death catches up to her. Technically it already did as a few years before she legally died from an overdose. After she survived she vowed to beat this thing once and for all. Her friend, Olivia, suggested going to Mia’s family owned cabin as a sort of rural rehab center. As they wait outside they meet up with a familiar, but rarely seen, face. Mia has a brother named David who missed his mother suffering her last days in a hospital as Mia took on the burden as her own. As David arrives he sees Mia again after years of not being there for her. She resents him but decides to give him a chance; she needs her brother if she is going to quit drugs for good. As the night takes over day Mia’s withdrawal begins to take hold and her bad mood becomes her only mood. As she complains of a smell they find a hidden door in the floor that leads to a basement. They begin to explore the basement and the smell gets worse and worse. They approach a second door and open it to find dozens of dead decaying cats hanging from their necks. This is the smell emanating throughout the cabin. This is the very same basement where years before a girl burned to her death for the salvation of her soul. Along with some burn marks, certain other artifacts were left behind, most noticeably they find what appears to be a book wrapped in a black plastic bag with barbed wire tightened over it, hopefully keeping anyone who finds it out. This of course is too much to resist for one of Mia’s friends and so he opens it.
It is a book, but by no means is it an ordinary novel one might check out at the local library. This is a book of demonic nature with topics like demon resurrection and demon disposal, should one inhabit a beloved family member. It is littered with added “notes” saying to not read anything from this book and only pain awaits those that read its poisonous filth. He of course ignores these warnings and reads four short passages of a prayer. The second he begins reading all hell breaks loose. From this moment on it is self- mutilation, murder, blood, pain, horror, hell, evil, dead. This book has released hell itself and if all of them are killed because of this curse then a true entity of pure evil will release its reign upon the world. As if that wasn’t bad enough, it could and does get worse. Blood pours, limbs fly, and people die. They are all doomed; there is no escape from the clutches of this hellish nightmare. They are faced with painful death and nothing short of it.
This is not the smartest film of course, but it achieves exactly what it wanted and this is to gross the audience out. When people are screaming at the screen I definitely think you can mark this one in the win column. I can see this getting smashed by the critics, but this wasn’t intended for them. It’s meant for the horror fans that just can’t seem to get enough carnage. Believe me when I say there is enough here to satisfy the biggest horror enthusiasts for a long time. It quite literally rains blood for nearly twenty minutes. As I said, if you go in expecting a gory time and nothing more than you will LOVE this. I intend on seeing this again if for no other reason than to marvel at what these film makers got away with. It was very easy to see why the first rating given by the MPAA was an NC-17. This is a very hard R rated film and is not for the faint of heart. This is gratuitous violence at its finest. Prepare yourselves for this one as it is nothing like you’ve seen in years.
Rated R for: strong bloody violence and gore, some sexual content and language
Runtime: 91 minutes
After Credits Scene: Yes
Starring: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore
Directed By: Fede Alvarez
Out of 5 Nerdskulls
Story: 2.5/ Acting: 3.5/ Directing: 4.5/ Visuals: 5
OVERALL: 4 Nerdskulls