It is rare to come across a horror movie that once again reminds me of what I like about horror. DESOLATION reinvigorated my hope that there is a way to pack surprise, twists, and fear in without being generic or skimping on the story. It is a psychological thriller for the horror fan who wants something a little more thoughtful than last year’s Clowntergeist.
Katie (Dominik García-Lorido) is charmed by the B-List actor Jay (Brock Kelly) as he whisks her away to Tinseltown to spend a few days and continue their night’s affair. Jay leaves town for three days to a gig and Katie is left alone in his apartment (where Jay casually points out that the building was once home to a few high profile murders of the 70s). Mysterious and seemingly haunted happenings begin occurring as Katie tries finding comfort in the kindly downstairs neighbor holy man, Father Bill (Raymond J. Barry).
Long after the movie, the social commentary kept me satisfied with the overarching story. Afterall, history’s greatest films have analysts noting and studying how we are all interested in what the film “really means.” It seems as though DESOLATION Director, David Moscow, and Writers Craig Walendziak and Matthew McCarty, had a lot to say about the way Hollywood has warped our perspective on celebrity and entertainment. Some of this is obvious, like when Jay says to Katie something along the lines of, “Hollywood cheers for you when you catch a break, then waits for you to spiral.” Other times the film’s view is more subtle like the comfort and ease in which a fan bombards Katie to question her relationship with Jay. While she is horrified by the man’s bluntness, the fan seems to disregard how uncomfortable he is making her feel, much as we are often blind to the inconvenience and interference we cause to the lives of celebrities.
DESOLATION was able to bring a fresh face to the genre with its story and character development completed with effective elements of psychological horror. It plays on currently relevant fears like gaslighting, surveillance, and the dark web, while also featuring other issues such as abortion, American culture of over-medication, Cam Girls, rape culture, suicide, and fame. Overall, the movie is thoughtful, suspenseful, and interesting. DESOLATION should make it on to every horror movie lovers’ must-watch list of 2018.
DESOLATION opens theatrically January 26, 2018