Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Verotika Review: An Homage to Vintage Horror

Release date: September 21, 2020
Running time: 90 minutes
Starring: Ashley Wisdom, Rachel Alig, Alice Tate

Glenn Danzig's directorial debut, is a horror anthology that compiles stories from Danzig's line of comic books of the same name. Stories which focus on horror content that's often sexual and violent in nature, usually featuring scantily-clad female protagonists.  The film is broken up into three roughly half hour stories that each feature odd tales of horror and the macabre.  The three tales are titled: The Albino Spider of Dajette, Change of Face, Drukija Contessa of Blood.  Each is a very different but they all revolve around some similar plots and styles. 

Verotika feels like an homage to an older style of horror, one that lives and dies by how much you remember and enjoy those older films.  The movies are filled with these references: poor / overpowering colored lighting, corny and exaggerated acting, overdramatic lines, shots that linger for too long, strange camera angles, plenty of gore, some mediocre special effects, and a focus on scantily clad and nude female characters.  Your enjoyment of these tropes and of a different time in horror will directly relate to how much you like this movie.  And as it comes from Glenn Danzig, the film also has some really amazing music.  Danzig did the music for the film and it shows.  It has his same style and vocals, but also has little touches that relate it to the story.  For example, the first movie is set in France and a lot of the music sounds like it is in French. 

This film completely succeeds in being a love letter to vintage horror, with all the good and bad that comes from it.  And unfortunately, for me I felt more of the bad than the good.  The effects were hit or miss with some make up being very well done and other make up looking ridiculous and off.  The few CG scenes were very bad, but again this was tough to tell if this was intentional or not.  And the acting was over the top, again tough to tell if this was intentional or not.  A few times, characters that were supposed to be dead were still taking very small micro breaths.  But this movie also just feels like it was for a different time and should not have been brought forward.  The film has a lot of female characters, which is great, but then casts them as mostly eye candy.  Very few of the female costumes had more than a few scraps of cloth and pretty much all of them were meant to be revealing or taken off.  It felt exploitative and something that I believe the horror genre has moved away from.  And although there are a lot of female characters and a handful of non-white male characters, the film just felt like it lacked diversity.  And the characters that were diverse had little to no dialogue.  Additionally the stories themselves just felt weird.  Some of the build up didn't make sense and often the story just felt like a convenient way to show naked girls.  This is a film that highlights tropes that the horror community have long since moved on from for good reason, and it doesn't feel like there is a need for a film to bring those back.

Verotika is a love letter to vintage horror, with all the good and bad that comes with it.  Unfortunately, in this case the bad far outweighs the good as the film feels exploitative and dated in a way that the horror genre has moved on from long ago. 

Pass on it.

If you liked this review and want to see more from Watch or Pass, please consider 
following us on our various social media platforms: FacebookTwitterInstagramYoutube
Verotika is available now to stream on Shudder. 

No comments:

Post a Comment