I don’t know why it took me so long to get around to watching this, but I’m definitely kicking myself. It’s the kind of horror movie that hits the ground running from the get-go: The setup is revealed through the first few frames, the characters are established quickly and efficiently, while their dynamics are clear and purposeful. It makes the experience of watching the movie feel like putting on a glove; it’s a satisfying, easy fit, and it signifies to the audience that director Stuart Gordon knows what he’s doing. As a horror fan, finding a director you feel you can trust goes a long way towards improve the experience, much the same way that Gordon’s “Dolls” and “Re-Animator” are so memorable. Gordon’s a master of economical, imaginative horror, and his strengths as a storyteller are on full display here. There isn’t as much gore as you’d expect from the director of “Re-Animator,” but there’s so much viscous viscera onscreen and grotesquely inventive practical effects that the horror nerd in me was experiencing pure glee. Additionally, Gordon’s casting is as strong as his confident directorial style, with regular muses Jeffrey Combs and Barbara Crampton providing solid work while horror stalwart Ken Foree adds class and appealing swagger to the proceedings. On the way to a balls-out, throw-red-paint-at-the-walls climax that plays out like a surreal, repulsive nightmare, there’s also Richard Band’s eerie original score, which gives the movie a distinct fairy-tale vibe. If you like “The Evil Dead” or Peter Jackson’s “Dead-Alive” you should give this one a whirl.
Rating: ★★★★ (out of 5)