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Tuesday, July 21, 2020

Review: The Current Occupant

Director: Julius Ramsay
Screenplay: Alston Ramsay
Year: 2020

A few days ago I had to write about how “Lake of Death” meant the end of a great streak of Shudder original movies, today I have to write about how “The Current Occupant” is the end of a great streak of episodes in the second season of “Into the Dark.” The horror series, which is a collaborative effort between Blumhouse Television and Hulu, has gotten us used to at least decent episodes, but every streak has to end.

Henry Cameron (Barry Watson; "Boogeyman") wakes up in a psychiatric hospital with no memory of who he is or why he’s there. While investigating his past, Henry starts finding information that leads him to believe he is the president of the United States. However, escaping from this conspiracy against him to return to power proves to be more difficult and dangerous than he thought.

Each episode of “Into the Dark” is based on a festivity, and this episode feeds on the Independence of the United States, celebrated on July 4th. However, its release got postponed because of the pandemic that currently affects the world. In a moment where the United States experiences one of its most unstable political times, we all had high expectations about what this movie would be. However, it did not fill those expectations with the political argument nor as a horror movie.

"The Current Occupant,” from director Julius Ramsay ("The Purge" Series) and screenwriter Alston Ramsay ("Midnighters"), only uses the political aspect to establish the base of its plot and keeps distanced from presenting any sort of political ideology. This type of decision is fine and to be respected, but it was inevitable to think that a horror movie based on a United States president and the 4th of July in the current times will be used to establish a message. However, this is not the reason why I consider it to be a low point in the season. 

My main problem with this episode/movie is how unrealistic its plot is and how little it gets into the horror. Instead of a horror movie, “The Current Occupant” is a science fiction movie that experiments with a world not that different from ours, but slightly more advanced in psychological technology. It is here where it shows its lack of realism since while trying to be visually attractive, it leaves aside all logic and consistency and ends up offering several scenes of a psychological study that there is no way to understand how it was put together.

“The Current Occupant” arrives a few days later than the 4th of July festivity in which it is based only to disappoint and not be able to live up to the expectations built around this episode of the “Into the Dark” series. Its plot constructed around the figure of the president of the United States doesn’t use the current political situation to establish an argument, and neither delves into the horror cinema aspect. Instead, it is crafted as a science fiction movie with a mildly interesting plot because of the suspense that envelops it, and too many inconsistencies in the way it develops.

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