It is October 17th and, this year, horror fans find themselves treated to one of the best holiday seasons we’ve ever had. Original horror film Smile is number one at the box office, experiencing fantastic holds and nearing 100 million worldwide (a feat we’ve been lucky enough to experience more than a couple times this year), and Damien Leone’s indie horror sequel Terrifier 2 is receiving a little love as well. Hellraiser is receiving the most well received film in its long-running franchise since the original 1987 film. The second season of Chucky is underway and Laurie Strode is about to duke it out with Michael Myers one last time for Halloween Ends. And, with all that, here I am, watching Grimcutty.
I don’t fault myself – reviewing original, lesser known films is good. This is a belief I have always harbored and something I try to embrace on everyday reviews. Although I don’t have a huge following, I would like to use whatever platform I do have to spotlight as many lesser known, creative people as I can.
This, as any horror fanatic knows, can be a double-edged sword in the horror genre. Every time you find a good film, that film is oftentimes followed by half a dozen bad ones. They can be made quick and cheap, hence why so many horror films flood the market (and why horror helped carry the theater industry during the Covid-19 pandemic, thank you very much).
Grimcutty arrived today on Hulu, dropped unceremoniously on a Monday, days after the Hellraiser reboots grand premiere. The film is about an internet meme gone awry and the conflict that arises from it Think Slenderman or Momo, right? This creepy image has went viral and, now, apparently, children are cutting themselves for clout (or something).
The character’s appearance is a little on the goofier side, but I’d argue is authentic to what a lot of the characters from Creepypastas, etc., that take the internet by storm.
With that, we are all set. The film, directed by John Ross, engrosses us in the life of a married couple and their two children. The film unfolds in a way that makes me think Kirk Cameron is vaguely involved. What I mean is, it feels vaguely like a propaganda film, presenting the irrational fears certain groups of people have about internet and technology. The film sees its out-of-touch adult characters trying to protect their children from the evils hiding in the dark underbellies of social media.
I’m not saying there aren’t evils hiding in the dark underbellies of social media. Things like the dark web and strange kidnappings, all that, they’ve been touched upon in films like The Den, for instance. The internet houses some real horrors and I believe they offer some real fodder for the genre to work with. This though, this feels more like in the seventies when parents would keep their kids from listening to Led Zeppelin because they thought you could hear the devil when you played it in reverse.
Hysteria is real though. Sometimes, too, it doesn’t make a lot of sense when it is put under the microscope or in hindsight. When I was eleven, my mom and I watched Eli Roth’s film Hostel. She made me cover my eyes when they showed a woman’s breasts, but had no problem letting me see a woman’s eye melted down with a blow torch.
The issue with this film, however, is that it doesn’t feel aware of how out of touch it is (even if events in the film suggest it is). Instead, it feels like a cringe-inducing exercise in the horrors of Lifetime cinema.
The film is finely acted and finely shot (certain actors felt like they were doing an over-the-top, again, Lifetime-y performance – but it does appear that’s at least somewhat on purpose).
Scares are far and in-between, largely kept to seeing Grimcutty at a distance and nothing more, and like his name, Grimcutty is fairly goofy looking. The camerawork is satiable though. This is a film that had a budget (albeit small) and could look to things like a proper camera setup, lighting, and production value. As far as scenes are concerned, there isn’t a whole lot to write about.
The character aren’t interesting, but I could have imagined actresses Sarah Wolfkind and Tate Moore making for believable, enjoyable leads in a film where they had more time to show their chemistry and develop their characters. The mystery surrounding the antagonist is under-cooked and means behind how he came to exist / what he is are practically nonexistent.
The most interesting wrinkle in the film is a twist that is revealed about midway through (however, if you read the description provided by Hulu, that twist is completely spoiled), which I liked and thought was an interesting bait-and-switch. Unfortunately, I believe the film failed to stick the landing for the idea.
Overall, as much as I want to focus on the positive for this film – Grimcutty is ripe with cliches and makes for a fairly antiquated, even at times goofy watch from start to finish. May everyone involved learn from it and find something more becoming of their own capabilities in the next go around.
Rating: – 1.0 out of 5.0