Zombos Says: Good+. A fun, light, horror romp that shines mostly because of the actors involved.
Watching the volley-balling egos, the gee whiz let's put on a show attitude, and the slow intrusion of an evil spirit that knows a lot about communicating remotely (in this case supernaturally, no Zoom needed), makes Untitled Horror Movie an enjoyable horror-lite watch.
Vanity Fair did an article on the making of this movie during its covid quarantine production last year. With everyone in lockdown, the actors went old school, learning how to do their makeup, hairdressing, gaff taping, lighting, camera work; in essence, putting on a one person show that could be edited into an ensemble later. Zoom handled the conference calls, directions, and how-to videos provided the spot training.
The undertaking reminded me of one of those Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland backyard musical movies where the kids pitch in and put on a show. No one sings or dances in this digital age version though, and Mickey and Judy didn't have to deal with demonic possession (though, looking back, that would have been cool), or do their own makeup and lighting. Having experienced the horrors of lighting, sunlight and drapery, and webcam positioning for too many Zoom meetings, I can tell you it is a miracle this movie got made at all.
Untitled Horror Movie has a slick slacks gloss to it, with a humorous crease running its entire length. It could have used more horror-tense moments, but inside jokes and the Hollywood tinsel digs and jibbing from person to person is mesmerizing. Given that you need to watch six talking heads most of the time, those heads better be connected to some lively and watchable characters: no problems there; the facial expressions, the verbal jousting, and the clean editing makes for a lively display of talent and humorous dialog with the building malevolence.
It starts with six actors (Claire Holt, Katherine McNamara, Darren Barnet, Emmy Raver-Lampman, Luke Baines, Timothy Granaderos) in search of a project after they fear their television series is cancelled. Using a found footage approach, video chatting, and in one instance a paired meeting (still done with quarantine in mind), they banter with stereotypical personalities, that may not be so exaggerated, as one would think. Lesly Kahn provides the funniest moments or should I say her dog does? Tough call there as she coaches one intrepid actor into his character for the horror movie the group decides they should make. Unfortunately, Chrissy (Katherine McNamara) is into pendulum crystals to help her make decisions. She said she got it at the Rose Bowl where nothing bad happens. Someone points out it's like a little Ouija board of badness, but a banishment curse is easily found on the Internet and their off and running--into trouble.
The curse, of course, kicks in and one by one they're zoombombed by the supernatural. While more visual terror would have been a plus, the vivid characters keep it mesmerizingly funny, aided by the crisp editing. One would wish all Zoom meetings were this enjoyable.
Note: As always, I receive screener links, book copies, and other stuff for review. But I still review 'em as I see 'em. So there.
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