Directed by John Ross — Screenplay by John Ross.
A couple of days ago, I noticed that a new horror film had been released on Disney+ (on Hulu in the U.S.), and, since it was a title that I had heard absolutely nothing about, I was somewhat puzzled. Where had this been hiding, why did Disney/Hulu acquire it, and why are they now releasing it without any fanfare? I assumed that it was a bad sign, just like how January has previously been known as a bit of a dumping ground for movie releases. I was right. I take no pleasure in writing highly negative reviews, but I think this is a big miss. It is an ineffective and quite bland horror film with no staying power, even though its general interest in how parents want to control what their children see online is an interesting premise for a horror film.
Written and directed by John Ross, Grimcutty is a horror film that follows a young woman, Asha (played by Sara Wolfkind), who starts seeing a monster from a social media challenge hunting her and trying to cut into her with knives. Asha isn’t the only one affected by this internet meme, it has gone so far that parents are now trying to limit their children’s use of technology. However, the parents believe that their children are participating freely in an online challenge when the truth is that they are actually being hunted by something only they can see.
There are interesting aspects to the overall premise in Ross’ Grimcutty. Having a horror film about how parents don’t understand what their kids are growing up with makes sense. The idea that they would want to control their kids is also good stuff to pull from in this genre. When you add to that this other idea about dangerous online popular culture and what causes someone to do self-harm, then you’ve got some very promising themes for your horror film. Unfortunately, that is the only good thing I have to say about it. The idea is interesting, but the execution fails that idea on pretty much every level.
When a horror film has a monster, or a creature, at the center of it, then the design of that monster has to work for the film to actually sit right. That’s just one of the problems here. Not only is the name of the film and the creature a really strange choice, but the monster itself has this really unconvincing look that is sometimes unintentionally funny. It’s lanky and barely has any distinctive details below its white head, red eyes, and a broad smile. It felt to me like they were going for a mixture of Bughuul from Sinister and Slenderman, but the combination doesn’t work.
It’s, honestly, all downhill from there. The score is sometimes overdramatic in moments that because of it now play unintentionally awkward, the editing and the direction are subpar, and the acting is often over-the-top and almost always unconvincing. I don’t like to pile on because I know filmmaking isn’t an easy process, but I find it difficult to find something positive to say with this one, so I’ll leave it at this: it was genuinely good to see Shannyn Sossamon again.
1 out of 10
– Review Written by Jeffrey Rex Bertelsen.