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Monday, October 12, 2020

Review: Society

Director: Brian Yuzna

Screenplay: Rick Fry and Woody Keith

Year: 1989

“Society” has turned into a horror movie with a massive cult following mainly because of its body horror scenes. Images of twisted bodies and heads in asses have sparked the interest of lovers of the bizarre, and “Society” has plenty to offer in this aspect.

Billy is a young man that is part of a family from the high circles of society. However, Billy doesn’t feel like part of this social circle and even feels different from her sister and parents who enjoy this lifestyle. Slowly, he starts to notice strange behavior in his family and close ones that ends in a surprising revelation about what’s behind people’s lifestyle in society’s high circles. 

If there is something for which people remember “Society”, besides its body horror content, it is because of its constant social critique about socio-economic classism. It is hard to ignore the commentary on the script of Rick Fry (“Bride of the Re-Animator”) and Woody Keith (“Dementia”) directed by Brian Yuzna (“The Dentist”) as it is thrown at your face countless times in the less subtle way possible. Constantly repeated phrases such as you’ll make a great contribution to society or literally representing how the rich suck off the life out of the poor is not easy to get misunderstood.

The explicitness script in the social commentary is matched with that of its body horror, which is the best attribute of this movie. Since early on, glimpses of the body horror are introduced, mainly in the form of bodies in humanly impossible positions, such as when Billy sees his sister in the shower and has her breasts and ass in the same direction and multiple references to slugs. This is just the preface of the madness of special effects that get unleashed in the final stretch, where body horror takes center stage to leave the viewer open-mouthed without forgetting to include the social commentary and the sexual references with the same lack of subtlety.

The impressive body horror scenes and an interesting story are not enough to cover the script’s huge deficiencies. Many character actions make no sense. In some cases, they go against the personality established previously and include characters that mean nothing to the story (take Clarissa’s mom as an example). The quality of the body horror scenes shown in the last stretch is opposed to the script’s quality, where the more substantial decision-making mistakes from the character are made, and they just focus on moving the story from one disturbing scene to the next.

“Society” is not a great movie story-wise, but it is worth watching for its excellent body horror scenes. The script has many flaws and holes, besides being too coarse with its socio-economic classism message and an ending that leaves as many loose ends as its development. If you ignore its problems, “Society” offers many impressive moments, especially if it’s your first time watching it.

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