I attended the world premiere of the new Blumhouse acquired independent film, "Hurt", last night at Fantasia film festival and Halloween-set film lovers are in for a treat. But not in a traditional way. "Hurt" stars Emily van Raay in an attention grabbing feature film debut, with strong supporting turns from Andrew Creer, Stephanie Moran, and Bradley Hamilton. Plot details can be found on IMDb, but plot details go like this: Tommy (Andrew Creer) returns home from war to his wife Rose (Emily van Raay), who lives in a house in the woods near to her sister Lily (Stephanie Moran), and her husband Mark (Bradley Hamilton). Almost every relationship on Rose's life is strained. On Halloween while attending an amusement park, Tommy has a break down thanks to the fake screams, blood and violence around him while he and Rose try to reconnect over nostalgia of the things they used to do. He takes off leaving Rose alone and from there the night turns to confusion and murder. While the film has slasher tendencies and DNA, it's not a paint by numbers stalk and slash film. The story keeps its focus on broken characters, and real drama, but cleverly plays the dramatics into a plot about human interest in violence and our desensitization to it. There's layers to the film that will only hit you as you think about it afterwards. It's actually heavily about violence without actually being overly violent itself, but doesn't shy away from gruesome and disturbing imagery. It's not about the slash, but the devastation in the aftermath and it feels like a punch to the gut. But "Hurt" doesn't revel in the suffering of it's protagonists, it wants to you to be disturbed by it. The film also plays with themes of PTSD, and like Mallhi's previous films, focuses on characters with troubled minds. It makes for engaging tension. The film takes things slow, but deliberately so, and you never quite know which way it's going to go. Situations that seem crucial or obvious don't always pan out the way you think they will, but I won't say any more. The gritty cinematography and perfect Halloween atmosphere lends itself nicely to the cruel vibe of the film. It's bleak both in it's themes and visuals with its desaturated colors and lingering shots. It all pairs nicely with the offbeat music by Tom Schraeder, that creates an unsettling vibe in conjunction with the almost voyeuristic style of the images. In fact I'd liken the sound design, and grainy texture of the cinematography to the documentary-like style of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. There are some striking images and the use of minimal and natural light creates a real aesthetic. If you like drama and character driven stories mixed with your horror there is a lot to admire here. "Hurt" is bleak and cruel and and it wants you to think about the sadism you came to see. In a time where viral videos are being shared across social media of real life violence, this film has something to say about the haunting lack of empathy people have when it comes to that violence, evident just by browsing through the comments sections of those viral videos, until it happens to you.
Horror / Thriller
Horror / Thriller
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A soldier reunites with his wife to take in the attractions at their favorite Halloween spot. But when real terror follows them home, they must fight for their lives - or become the next attraction.
December 12, 2021