Review by Fatal Follower
Flay (2017) directed by digital effects creator Eric Pham (Sin City; Grindhouse, and now making his feature directorial debut) from a screenplay by Matthew Daley. The Phame Factory production stars Violett Beane, Elle LaMont and A. Michael Baldwin.
Pham commented: “I’ve always been fascinated with ghost stories and the mythologies behind ghosts and spirits. I see Flay as a contemporary mashup of the Japanese legend of the Noppera-bo, or faceless ghost, and Native American legends.”
Synopsis- Returning home after the mysterious death of her mother, an estranged daughter and recovering addict, inadvertently unleashes a centuries old curse by acquiring a mysterious and alluring black chain that empowers Flay, a faceless killer who drags his victims to the netherworld and returns their dead bodies to the world seemingly unharmed…
The film is being released on VOD on March 6, 2018, by Uncork’d Entertainment.
What happens when you combine J-Horror with a Native American curse akin to Slender Man?
Soggy haired faceless ghosts with a decent looking faceless villain ala Slender Man. But, you have to wade through a lot of soggy haired ghosts for the most part!
Siblings, Moon Crane & River Crane (ikr?), are back in the mix of things at home , once painter/artist mom Patricia winds up dead at the hands of our faceless villain. Moon (Elle Lamont) is giving it her all, as a recovering addict that is going through some serious haunting/visions around the secluded country home. Not only the latter, but she has to deal with her twerp brother, River (Dalton Gray), while also trying to entertain the resident hottie, Tyler (Johnny Walter).
For about an hour, you get some frights in the form of a dripping, pale ghost appearing (which is a former victim that has been dragged to the netherworld, and returned faceless...I think), who distracts the victim while the Slender Man well...drags them away. Occasionally, you get a glimpse of our faceless villain, and I will say, those are the best scenes and special effects in the movie. But they are much too far and few between. Also, when someone is dragged away, a close up of a painting with the paint dripping upwards happens. It’s kind of unclear what is happening, but it was a much needed flair, as there is no gore or idea as to what’s happening offscreen.
Much like most indie horrors, the good stuff happens in the last 20 minutes. The body count kicks in and our “Slender Man” starts popping up and “stealing the essence” of River’s friends that are staying over. I haven’t seen any of the “Slender Man” inspired movies, but this one was somewhat decent. I enjoyed the Native American angle for the curse, as it explained why the villain was making the “faceless ghouls”, sort of.
If you are looking for a Slender Man movie, at least until the big budget Sony Slender Man comes out, you may dig this one. The last 30 minutes makes up for the ho-hum first part. The special effects and surreal imagery at the end was well done for a low budget feature, I was quit impressed. While the plot is not going to offer much in the way of the CreepyPasta in which this movie clearly was influenced, it does add an element to the mythos that solidifies it has “homegrown horror”.
It’s not bad, you could do a lot worse. Give it a peep. Stay after the credits too!