FILM REVIEWS

‘The Ugly’ (1997)

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The Ugly (1997)

Simon Cartwright (Paolo Rotondo) is a confessed serial killer being held in a mental institution. Dr. Karen Shoemaker (Rebecca Hobbs) is a psychiatrist interviewing him about his past. This horror movie written and directed by New Zealand filmmaker Scott Reynolds is primarily a series of eerie sequences reflexively revealing the nature of his antagonism. The opening must be weathered a bit as the institution scenes can come across a bit silly. Cleanliness is apparently not a concern in modern New Zealand mental institutions according to this film. Likewise, the orderlies are too cruel and unprofessional to be believable. They look and act like front men for a bad metal band; one can’t even be bothered to wear a shirt. But the story of Cartwright’s rampage is an interesting twist on the genre. The murder flashbacks are creepy and the twists are well written as to piece together his story without being terribly obvious. There are some distinct moments of non-cliched tension. Cartwright’s motivations become clearer as the story progresses. Needless to say, it turns out he has issues. Reynolds uses black blood for the flashback scenes. It makes for a visually interesting horror film. Minor problems brought about by the sillier hospital scenes are outweighed by this clever story with good, modern gothic gore.

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