February 26, 2018 Flay (Movie Review)
Based loosely off the internet phenomenon of the Slender Man, a brand new Horror offering, Flay, arrives to Digital HD on Tuesday, March 6, 2018, via Distribber.
Moon Crane (Elle LaMont: Machete Kills 2013, From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series) has returned home to Texas after the tragic and mysterious death of her estranged mother Patricia (Peggy Schott: A Country Called Home 2015, Vindication series), a kooky painter with a penchant for alcoholism. She discovers her younger brother River (Dalton E. Gray: Dumb and Dumber To 2014, American Horror Story series) acting out, and refusing to properly acknowledge his grief. This might be due in part to his squad of dim-witted pals, including the self-proclaimed stoner god Hector (Noé de la Garza in his acting debut), Hector’s gal-pal Chrissie (Kaylee King: Grand Prix: The Winning Tale 2011, Hell of a Night 2017), and River’s lusty girlfriend Bethany (Violett Beane: Tower documentary 2016, The Flash series).
While trying to acclimate back to Southern living, reign in her teenage brother, and make heads or tails of what happened to her mom, Moon encounters a kindly neighbor named Billy (A. Michael Baldwin: Phantasm 1979, Phantasm: Ravager 2016) and becomes reacquainted with an old flame, Tyler Forman (Johnny Walter: Butcher Boys 2012, The Originals series). As she attempts to prepare for her mother’s wake, Moon will soon realize that the bodies are stacking up around her little brother and something wicked this way indeed comes!
Clocking in at 93 minutes in-length, Flay was directed by noteworthy Visual Effects Artist Eric Pham (Sin City 2005, Grindhouse 2007), and was written by Matthew Daley (Lantern City series). While Flay is billed as a blend of Drama, Fantasy, and Horror, it reads as a Horror offering that falls into the Supernatural/Paranormal subgenre. It is to say that this entire premise sits upon the idea of a Native American curse, a cursed object, and the unfortunate consequences of coming into possession of said object.
While the entire plot rests upon this common and flimsy thread – the Native American medicine man’s curse – the key addition of the Slender Man is what makes Flay unique and what, presumably, offers up the appeal for young viewers. However, that connection is rickety, at best. Furthermore, this creation looks more like the third Blues Brother (without a face, of course) than anything of the Slender Man variety. Let us be honest: it is his bizarre body proportions that make the actual Slender Man of internet-myth so creepy, and they are decidedly missing here. That leaves simply a tall, caul-faced, white-handed dude in a suit. Not scary, sorry.
Due to the shaky ground that this entire production rests upon, the cast here are largely left to tread water as best they can, with poor Lead Actress LaMont clearly chosen for her physical attributes and not her acting talent, as she is generic in the role. Of course, to give her due credit, the role itself is entirely banal and leaves her to work with such inspiring material as painting her toenails in her lingerie. Whether it is intentional or otherwise, Beane (Bethany) and de la Garza (Hector) are both exceedingly annoying, while King (Chrissie) is entirely superfluous. The only one given a real chance to shine is Gray, as River, who does a decent job of offering up all the eccentric quirks of his multi-dimensional character, a Pre-Med hopeful who has sex in gym teacher’s offices.
Ultimately, though there are a few jump-scares, Flay is neither horrifying nor horrible; it’s just another generic 2018 Horror offering. While its title is a clear misdirection – as this is no gore-tastic Slasher flick – instead, this is Supernatural/Paranormal Horror of the cursed object kind. If that is your thing, sure, Flay will hold your interest for a bit and it might be worth a bowl of popcorn. However, be warned: the end result here is neither laughably bad nor eerily spooktastic, but rather a movie that simply exists; yet another offering in an already oversaturated world of snooze. Two pieces of advice: watch it all the way through the credits and prepare for the sequel, which is already in-the-works. For these reasons, CrypticRock give Flay 3 of 5 stars.