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'Perpetrator' & other horrors
Part feminist horror, and part witchcraft thriller, Jennifer Reeder's new horror-mystery is an ineffable scatter of ideas.
IN THE SCATTER OF IDEAS in Jennifer Reeder’s peculiar horror-mystery lies an interesting thought: gender identity begins in one’s understanding of their body. The film, speaking about womanhood in particular, poses that it goes beyond the physical, using blood as a motif that depicts women’s kinship with one another — an empathic, almost mystical link that makes all women familiar with each other’s troubles and pains.
The film follows a young woman named Jonny (Kiah McKirnan), a wayward high schooler who moves in with her strange aunt named Hildie (Alicia Silverstone, in a brief but spellbinding turn). Approaching her eighteenth birthday, Jonny starts to experience mysterious changes within her body. In a raspy, whisper-y tone, her aunt explains: “You are one in a long line. Ferocious. Repulsive. Magnificent.”
Viewers who resign to the unfathomable narrative swings and idiosyncratic writing might find the film actually entertaining, with plenty of smart things to say about the chemical, spiritual, and emotional makeup we all have as humans. Though it isn’t unfair to say that the film would better serve its message with a bit of a sharper focus. And possibly a few passes of rewrites to tighten things.
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Stream it? If you can exercise some patience and keep an open mind, yes. ✔️
ABOUT THE FILM
dir. Jennifer Reeder | Horror, Thriller | 🇺🇸
Jonny Baptiste is a reckless teen sent to live with her estranged Aunt Hildie. On the event of her eighteenth birthday, she experiences a radical metamorphosis: a family spell that redefines her called Forevering. When several teen girls go missing at her new school, a mythically feral Jonny goes after the Perpetrator.
Other horrors I've watched this week:
Here are the rest of my horror viewings this week. For real-time reviews and quick takeaways, follow my Letterboxd 🟠🔵🟢!
📓 Ang Mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan
dir. Chito S. Roño | Horror, Thriller | 🇵🇭
Not a fan. The elements that made Bob Ong’s novella such an effective horror story about institutional neglect are lost in Chito S. Roño’s adaptation, Ang Mga Kaibigan ni Mama Susan.
📺 Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes
dir. Junta Yamaguchi | Sci-Fi, Comedy, Thriller | 🇯🇵
Kind of cheating by including a categorically non-horror title here, but Junta Yamaguchi’s instant cult classic, Beyond the Infinite Two Minutes, is too good not to share. The unease and tension built in between a guy randomly discovering a time wormhole and a chance encounter with a yakuza are reminiscent of another one-shot sci-fi-thriller called Timecrimes but with the same infectious charm of One Cut of the Dead.
🕯️ The Others
dir. Alejandro Amenábar | Horror, Drama | 🇪🇸 🇬🇧
At this point, everyone and their aunts know the twist at the end of Alejandro Amenábar’s The Others. What no one prepares you for is how strongly it rests on the shoulders of Nicole Kidman. Loosely based on Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw, the film’s more interesting parts also come from its themes of class and gender, pressed against the background of post-war Britain.
What to watch this week
A list of noteworthy horror releases coming to theaters, VOD, and streaming.
📿 All Fun and Games is out now on VOD.
⛪️ The Nun 2 is hitting theaters on Friday, September 8th.
🧑🤝🧑 The Changeling, a limited horror series starring Lakeith Stanfield, premieres on Apple TV+ this Friday, September 8th.
🔪 Chucky dropped a teaser-trailer for its third season — Chucky’s going presidential!
🏃 David Fincher’s The Killer, starring Michael Fassbender, also dropped its trailer — watch it here!
Field Notes From Hell is Deep Cuts’ weekly email digest. Dispatches go out every Sunday, with handpicked horror news, capsule reviews, and outlook on upcoming titles you can watch.