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Friday, April 5, 2024

‘Baghead’ Review – Shapeshifter Horror Movie Starring Freya Allan Is a Mixed Bag

Baghead is the latest offering of rules-based horror. As in, the characters follow specific rules and maybe they can survive their uncanny predicament. Alberto Corredor’s first long feature, an adaptation of his own short film of the same name, wastes no time establishing the system in which his characters must struggle. Admittedly, the high concept here is convoluted and also not executed to its fullest, but the film still manages to brew up some creepy moments as well as deliver an intriguing, not to mention fearsome antagonist.

Freya Allan (The Witcher) plays Iris, the struggling protagonist of Baghead. After losing her apartment, Iris inherits her estranged father’s (Peter Mullan) pub following his sudden passing. Soon enough, the young heir is offered a fat wad of cash by Jeremy Irvine’s desperate and frazzled character, Neil, in exchange for access to the pub’s basement and the “woman” living down there. All incredulity is quickly swept away as Iris, Iris’ best friend Katie (Ruby Barker), and Neil get an up-close-and-personal look at the film’s namesake: an ancient, burlap sack wearing creature who can shapeshift into any dead person.

Baghead is quick to explain the titular creature (Anne Müller) and how she works; Iris’ father left behind instructions on a handy videotape. Similar to Talk to Me, people have a given amount of time — a more generous span of two minutes, in this case — where they can safely talk to the dead through Baghead. Of course, these novices go over the limit and Corredor persuasively demonstrates why doing so is a pretty bad idea. Somehow not deterred by a close brush with her own death, Iris then decides to exploit the creature’s ability for money. The main character is certainly not easy to like or even root for, but her flaws and despair also make her more compelling in the long run.

Despite being relatively new as a horror filmmaker, Corredor shows promise. He delivers a few disturbing moments (using both visual and audio means) and creates adequate suspense during the story’s summoning scenes. Baghead inevitably shakes off its slow-burn first impression and concedes to over-the-top sequences. On the downside, the film bears unflattering and clichéd digital effects. The film is at its best when a character is simply engaged with the creature, down in the dark and atmospheric basement, and the viewers watch in anticipation as these encounters methodically escalate. The cheesy VFX end up doing more harm than good.

Although it boasts several decent plot twists toward the end, Baghead still doesn’t go quite as far with its premise as it could have. There is a lot of untapped potential here. In addition, the film’s habit of heavy exposition will be a major peeve for some viewers; this film about talking to the dead perhaps talks too much. However, there is no denying the appeal and popularity of these kinds of horror films where mysteries are solvable, answers are plentiful, and precise rules are meant to be reinterpreted and broken. At the very least, Corredor’s debut is technically sound, apart from a couple of tropey and unconvincing visual effects, and both the exterior and interior of the creature are thoughtfully designed.

Baghead will be available on Shudder starting on April 5.

2.5 out of 5 skulls


Pictured: ‘Baghead’ poster courtesy of STUDIOCANAL and The Picture Company.

The post ‘Baghead’ Review – Shapeshifter Horror Movie Starring Freya Allan Is a Mixed Bag appeared first on Bloody Disgusting!.


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