review by Bobby Blakey
Of all the subgenres in horror I think those focusing on possession and evil spirits is probably my least favorite. That being said when it is handled right they can be pretty great. The latest Shudder original flick, Z looks to tackle the subject matter, but does it have that special something to possess the viewer or will it feel more like a curse?
Z follows Beth whose son brings home an imaginary friend named “Z” and she becomes concerned that he is falling too deep into a world of make believe. He starts to display extremely destructive behavior, blaming Z for all of his actions. But after he gets kicked out of school, Beth is forced to find a solution. She medicates her son, making him unable to see his imaginary companion. But now Beth sees Z…and he wants to be her friend.
Anytime you can bring a kid into the mix of horror it has the potential to step things up. This time around I loved the idea of the possible imaginary friend turned evil spirit idea so really looked forward to diving into it. The set-up of it all works great bringing some ominous tone and creepiness to it all giving me some great hope to where this was going. The young actor Jett Klyne does a great job fully realizing this character and making him believable and creepy all at once.
Sadly this is kind of where the film works for me. As it moves forward it becomes more and more mundane and instead of fully capitalizing on the great set up it fell into a generic direction. Sure there are some decent visuals and still enough here to keep it moving, but could have been so much more impactful. With some of the set up I really thought it was going to get insane and smack you in the face but instead it just kind of walked by and said boo.
This wasn’t a bad movie or anything and I have no doubt that it will work for some, but for me it just came across to forgettable and generic. The strong set up took me on a journey I was ready for, but dropped the ball in the end. Decide for yourself and check out Z available now on Blu-ray and DVD from RLJE Films and Shudder.