Flay

Film’s release delayed to late 2018.

After the death of her mother, an estranged daughter struggles to save her brother and those around her from a malevolent faceless spirit.

It’s too bad that Flay couldn’t decide what it was about. This truly dissonant blend of Native American folklore and modern urban legend is as big a mess as I have seen in a long time. To start at the top, director Eric Pham’s sporadically watchable work paired with a schizophrenic script by Matthew Daley, and acting that wouldn’t pass muster in an After-school special, all come together to create an experience that is mildly painful and totally forgettable.

Recovering druggy-mom Patricia (Peggy Schott) collapses and dies while working on a painting in her garage. Discovered by friendly neighbor Billy (A. Michael Baldwin), the death triggers a visit from long-lost daughter, Moon (Elle LaMont) who comes to handle the funeral arrangements and to reconnect with pissy younger brother River (Dalton E. Gray). Friendly, hunky deputy Tyler (Johnny Walter) eases Moon into town and escorts her to her childhood home, all-the-while flirting in a not-so-casual way.

“…daughter struggles to save her brother and those around her from a malevolent faceless spirit.”

As the mourning clatch of numbskulls are piecing their lives back together we learn about the estranged relationship between Moon and River, the budding romance between Moon and Tyler, and the mysterious deaths that have started up again in the town that are, arguably, connected to the legend of a fallen Native-American shaman who was tortured by his captors and now seeks revenge.

As the deaths pile up we see that each has visions, prior to their deaths, when they come in contact with water. This, in turn, provokes a visit from the recent victim, Patricia, and the unseen force that is slaying unsuspecting hydration seekers. Suffice it to say this must be a dry county if any sort of liquid triggers a visit from a supernatural monster.

“…weave in the urban legend of The Slenderman…”

Everything culminates in strained dramatics and forced tension as the audience is sure to be scratching their heads in confusion. Yet the biggest puzzler of all happens when the filmmakers decide to weave the urban legend of The Slenderman into the climax of the film. It’s not a spoiler to say this character is in the film as he is on the damned poster. Somehow though, this inclusion feels like a forced piece of pop-culture horror that pairs not with the first threat established at the beginning of the film.

What an absolute bore. Skip Flay kids!

Flay (2017) Directed by Eric Pham. Written by Matthew Daley. Starring Violett Beane, Elle LaMont, A. Michael Baldwin.

1 out of 10

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