Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fantastic Fest 2014 Review: THE HIVE- Jonesy's Take

Directed by David Yarovesky
Written by Will Honley and Daivd Yarovesky
Starring: Gabriel Basso, Kathryn Prescott, Jacob Zachar, and Gabrielle Walsh
Synopsis: A young man wakes covered in a black substance with no recollection of how he got there or what happened to him

Any film that begins with a character waking up and having amnesia already has an uphill battle. If you begin with a mystery, then it better pay off by the end. Unfortunately for THE HIVE, the payoff doesn't satisfy, and there aren't many more redeeming factors to even recommend this film.

Adam (Basso) is a camp counselor who has awakening in the infirmary with no recollection of what happened. He's a mess with a black substance all over him, and there are random drawings and messages on the wall. As he tries to piece together what has happened, strange noises outside are growing louder and random memories begin coming back to him, but not all the memories are his. Slowly the story begins to come together, including his past and the incident which got him locked in this room.

Initially, the film begins fairly strong giving the only bits of the mystery surrounding Adam. But as more is revealed, the more lackluster the movie becomes. The plot cannot decide between being a flat out horror film or a mystery the audience needs to solve. It tries to mix those elements, but the results are dismal. The script doesn't let the audience think for themselves at all as Adam proceeds to mindlessly talk about his visions. It supposed to read as him figuring out what's going on, but it comes across as mindless exposition dumping. The characters are also very one dimensional. Basso tries very hard to give Adam some depth, but he ends up being someone we don't really care about.

The one aspect the film has going for it is the way it looks. The art design of the initial room is detailed and with each new shot, there's something new to discover. They saturate the color palette, which gives the film a grimy look that helps establish the mood. But even that couldn't save the story.

In the end when the mystery is finally revealed, it's not anything particularly inventive or even interesting. Director David Yarovesky tried really hard to make what felt like a MEMENTO homage coupled with a horror film, but the end result falls flat.  

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