5/04/2020

"Z" (Review)

Director: Brandon Christensen
Writers: Brandon Christensen, Colin Minihan
Cast: Keegan Connor Tracy, Jett Klyne, Sean Rogerson, Sara Canning, Stephen McHattie
Year: 2019
Min: 83

The married couple of Elizabeth (Keegan Connor Tracy) and Kevin Parsons (Sean Rogerson) have an eight-year-old son named Joshua (Jett Klyne). He unfortunately has gained an imaginary friend simply named Z; who soon influences Joshua to develop rather antisocial and destructive behavior. It worries his mom, Elizabeth, of course, especially when the behavior begins to include violence. She will slowly discover the secret of Z.

This slow burn of a horror movie looked, at first, to be something that I had seen before. But, thanks to some solid talent behind and in front of the camera, ended up exceeding my expectations. Insuring my enjoyment of it is how the movie builds up and has a couple of moments that will chill you.

Perhaps the movie's strongest aspect is its acting. Everyone is great, but it's Keegan Connor (Final Destination 2, Bates Motel) Tracy that is truly incredible. She gives one of the year's best performances, as she is able to say so much with just her eyes. Her character of Elizabeth is the heart of the movie and is easy to like and cheer on. She also plays a good counterbalance to Sean Rogerson portrayal of her hubby Kevin. While, he shows strong acting, the role is the generic dad who doesn't believe in the supernatural shit that is going on. As such, he feels a bit like a fail, even if he means well. The supporting cast is strong as well, in particular the always great and underrated Stephen McHattie as the psychologist Beth calls to help her son.

I also really like the way the movie looks, as there are some really nicely framed shots within it. While, the flick is slow it builds and builds up rather well. The continuing sense of mounting terror so well thanks to director/ co-writer Brandon Christensen, who manages to make the movie creepier and creepier. There is, at least. one truly shocking and jaw-dropping moment. It comes from a truly shocking scene that works to perfection and comes out of nowhere. The score by Brittany Allen is great, as well, and adds to the scares. It helps to make you feel very uneasy.

The script by Christensen and Colin Minihan is strong. As I stated before, at first this film feels like it might be something we have seen before. But, then at about the 50 or so minute mark it goes in a decidedly crazy and increasingly dark direction that I really appreciated. It helps to give this one its own identity.

"Z" is a dark and somber mix of supernatural and psychological horror. Though it's a bit on the slow side, it builds up rather nicely. The film manages to have some frightening and creepy moments. And, it is highlighted by a superlative performance from the lovely and immensely talented Connor Tracy. Her role of a mom who will do anything to protect and save her son helps to make this one a great choice for Mother's Day viewing. Which is great cause Shudder will begin streaming the movie on May 7, 2020.


3 out of 4 

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