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Saturday, May 9, 2020

Review: Z

Director: Brandon Christensen
Screenplay: Brandon Christensen and Colin Minihan
Year: 2020

The boogeyman is an entity that has roamed the world of horror since its conception and that has found the way to manifest in different shapes and forms. Although its approach can be different, its objective is the same: terrorize its victim and while on it, the viewer as well. “Z” is not necessarily a movie about some sort of boogeyman, but it does borrow some of its characteristics.

Joshua is a boy with a very active imagination for which when he starts talking with an imaginary friend, his parents do not worry about it too much. However, since he starts mentioning this imaginary friend, his behavior starts drastically changing. After a few incidents, his mother starts to investigate and discovers that this friend is more real than what they had thought.

“Z” starts with a scene of Joshua, interpreted by Jett Klyne (“The Boy”), playing with his toys with some real-life sound effects in the background, every kid’s dream. This scene establishes the great imagination that the kid has and the world he can create with it, for which the presence of an imaginary friend that, to him is real, is not supposed to trigger any alarms. Of course, as spectators of a horror movie we know the twist this is going to take.

Once he starts mentioning his imaginary friend, who goes by the name Z, the bad influence it represents on Joshua is evident. Since this point on, the director Brandon Christensen (“Still/Born”), who co-writes the script with Colin Minihan (“Grave Encounters”), offers us different shocking images throughout the movie concerning the relationship of Joshua and Z and the actions of the later, from whom for the most part we only see glimpses of and makes it even scarier. In this aspect, it doesn’t offer much that has not been already seen in horror cinema, but the images are well-crafted and even the expected ones carry the desired impact.

The visual part of “Z”, except for some horrible CGI moments, along with the story and acting, particularly that of Joshua and his mother (Keegan Connor Tracy; “Final Destination 2”), complement well and should have generated a better reaction, but it feels like a movie that never manages to connect with the audience and always feels like it lacks something. A possible factor responsible for this is the characters, with some of them, like that of Joshua’s father (Sean Rogerson; “Underworld: Evolution”) is portrayed as an absent and incompetent one and you can never get behind him, while other characters have not much reason for being part of the plot.

“Z” keeps the viewer intrigued with its plot and visuals and maintains the doubt if what happens is the result of a supernatural entity or a product of the imagination. However, it is one of those movies that while being good, feels like it should be more enjoyable and for some reason, it feels like it never reaches the level it should. It is definitely worth watching for its plot, shocking moments, and interesting ending, but shouldn’t expect a wonderful movie and considering that it doesn’t offer anything novel to the horror genre.

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