When the chains that bound a Native American medicine man during his torture and death are taken by a recovering drug addict, she soon falls victim to their curse. And it’s not long before the same curse spreads to her son (Dalton E. Gray) and daughter (Elle LaMont), and the people around them.
One of the most surprisingly impressive elements of Flay is the quality of the visual effects. Until you realise that the director’s forte is not directing, but actually it’s – yeah, you guessed it! – visual effects… I’m not going to say, ‘Stick to effects!’, as I did with Tory Hass’s absolutely dreadful The Neon Dead (2017), as everything seems to hold together well enough for what it is, despite its lack of originality in a lot of places.
Still, the absence of original thought can be forgiven, but the utterly piss-poor death scenes cannot, I’m afraid. And I’m not talking hammy because then we would have something to laugh at the very least. Considering that the movie’s effects are weaker in these sequences, I want to guess budgetary issues, but even the cinematography takes a dive.
It’s also a little odd that some filmmakers are still doing the whole wannabe Japanese ghost girl routine over a decade after it stopped being cool. My cut-off point was when it became apparent that neither The Ring nor The Grudge franchise were going to yield any decent sequels as far as the U.S market is concerned. Nevertheless, that’s how the dead junkie mom apparition plays out; always standing with her back to the next victim, all black and white and dripping. Her eventual face reveal in the final third of the film is annoyingly underwhelming.
And why the hell does the demon look exactly like Slender Man? The guy is an internet meme for crying out loud. Forget the explanation in the intro. What the fuck does he have to do with Native American culture? On the one hand, it’s all about as convoluted as the origin story of the Candyman. But on the other, it would’ve worked very well if they’d just made the effort to create their own original villain, instead of cashing in on some flimsy myth. It’s not even a myth. It’s a meme!
Dalton is hands down the strongest acting talent in the cast, being the only one to dare to tap into same actual raw emotion during heated arguments with his character’s sister. With a healthy back catalogue, boasting roles on current hit shows such as Criminal Minds and American Horror Story, I hope going forward he can land himself in stronger projects. Sister Elle has some pretty cool credits too, but she didn’t bring her A game here.
Strong special effects here and there. One promising acting talent. Nothing much else.