3 out of 5
Directed by: Patrick Lussier
Ah, I see what this film is doing, ye thinks, smiling inwardly as you calculate how a twist play out. Congratulations, you’ve fallen into a trap: should the film confirm your twist, you’ve screwed yourself out of a surprise; should it, say, not twist, you’ll feel a bit left out, like Why Couldn’t The Filmmakers Have Done a Bit More With This?
The ideal, of course, is for the movie to take a direction you couldn’t or wouldn’t have expected, which might involve either side of the options above, but breathed with some unique aspect of life your widdle brain couldn’t forsee.
No, the second monthly offering in Hulu’s holiday horror/thriller film installments, Flesh & Blood, does not manage that ideal. I’m not quite sure what it does, actually – the movie sort of amusingly states its purpose and then just falls forward onto a conclusion – but it uses the old stuck-in-the-house routine (lead character Kimberley is agoraphobic) to give its actors a solid base from which to tumble. Kim (Diana Silvers) and Henry (Dermot Mulroney) lost their mother and wife, respectfully, last year at Thanksgiving. It’s not a car crash, or cancer, but something more drastic: murder. That the killer is still at large has left Dad with a continual need to fix up the house, and Kim with the aforementioned condition. Silvers (and director Lussier) does an excellent job of making the symptoms of that feel truly lmiiting, and the film has the luxury of constructing a believable father / daughter dynamic for a family still in mourning.
When Kim sees a news report about other missing girls, and makes a tenuous connection to her experiences, is when that twist issue comes into play.
And interestingly, this is only like a third of the way through things. Flesh & Blood successfully finds ways to move this along for its next third, but it keeps batting at that twist in a worrisome fashion. Again: it just sort of lets itself go once it decides to, leading to one big ol’ pile of all the film’s elements, and, yeah, I’m not quite sure what to make of it; on which side of the ol’ twist conundrum I fell.
Either way: Silvers excels during the film’s quieter lead-up, and Dermot Mulroney carries things entertainingly when she’s unable to quite sell the adrenaline-amping of the conclusion. I like that there’s a Thanksgiving horror / thriller out there, and I guess we have XMas to look forward to next.