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Flay (2018) - Movie Review

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Flay - Movie Review

Movie Review

4 starsIt begins with a montage of old photographs. Native Americans at home on the land. That’s how Flay opens its color-drained canvas of horror. Don’t get comfortable, though. Whatever stirring and romanticized ideas you have about the old west will soon be jettisoned for good. This is a harsh land and its troubled history is returning. Guided by mournful drums and a narration that quickly eludes to a graphic flaying of faces courtesy of white settlers, we get our first reminders of its ancient brutality.

And it begins with a curse that echoes down the centuries.

We belong to the land. That’s one takeaway from the long-awaited Horror fantasy from director Eric Pham. No matter where you stand or whatever flag flies above your skies from atop the local courthouse, there is no escaping the fact that we belong to the land. It is not vice versa and it is all sacred land.

The second lesson is one you should probably already know. Simply put, no matter what happens in your life and no matter how horrible it becomes, you do NOT fuck with a medicine man. Never forget that. Flay, a Native American-themed horror film that will be released this week via Distribber reminds us of both of those two very important lessons. Pray it doesn’t seep into your nightmares tonight.

Should you ever forget such important lessons, I will point you in the direction of this tasty grindhouse-like horror flick in which a chain, used in the death of a medicine man, becomes possessed by the vengeful spirit of said shaman and all who own it – even if the links are broken up – get dealt with accordingly.

Directed by a unique talent who previously cut his teeth in film working visual effects on some of director Robert Rodriguez’s best-known films, including Planet Terror and Sin City, this film is full on practical in its display of visual effects. That helps us appreciate its intentions so much more than the CGI flick of blood and chisel.

Thankfully, Flay is an unnerving slice of retrograde terror. As far as horror titles go, this is the film to beat this year. Indeed, Flay and its faceless killer is that striking of a horror flick. And, yes, much of Pham’s film feels very much like a lived-in Rodriguez flick. The film co-stars Johnny Walter, Violett Beane, A. Michael Baldwin, and Patricia Cane, and features a very southern-inspired soundtrack of grisly blues to complete its grindhouse flair.

From its Austin, Texas shooting location to its main lead, the ever-popular (and attractive) Elle LaMont (Alita: Battle Angel, Machete Kills) as Moon Crane, Flay has all the right ingredients to be one of this year’s most memorable horror treats. It is every bit the disturbing tale you really want it to be and, with stirring visuals, the movie proves to be more than just a revenge-centered slasher film with a new Slenderman-inspired figure at the center of its deadly strikes.

Beginning with the death of a junkie mother, one estranged daughter, Moon, returns home to help her brother, River (Dalton E. Gray), cope with the sudden loss. He’s convinced his mother’s death is due to drugs and alcohol and he’s no less pleased that Moon, who has been gone for a long time, has returned to ease his troubled heart. Let her burn. Hell, let them both burn, he seems to indicate.

Moon, after getting some details concerning her mother’s break from drugs and her interest in art, isn’t as easily convinced of her suicide. There is something stranger at play here. Soon enough, she stumbles upon the truth and it involves the accidental awakening of the curse upon the chains that once kept a shaman in check. Tortured and killed at the beginning of the movie, he placed a curse upon the chains that the movie absolutely delivers upon.

And the vengeful spirit of this medicine man does more than just kill his victims. No. In Flay, written by screenwriter Matthew Daley, the ones who die are indeed the lucky ones. They should count their blessings that they don’t wind up trapped in some sort of limbo land between two planes of existence. Frightening as hell, this moody tale is atmospheric and moody and its cast delivers on the promise of its B-movie appeal.

Peeling the skin off of a dead man requires a steady hand. Fortunately, the artist at the helm of this sick feature has exactly that.

Sharpen your knives, the time to Flay has arrived!

Film Details

Flay - Movie Review

MPAA Rating: Unrated.
Runtime: 94 mins
Director: Eric Pham
Writer: Matthew Daley
Cast: Violett Beane, Elle LaMont, A. Michael Baldwin
Genre: Drama | Fantasy
Memorable Movie Quote: "I think someone tried to kill me tonight."
Distributor: Phame Factory
Official Site:
Release Date: March 6, 2018 (VOD)
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: No details available.
Synopsis: Recovering addict Patricia Crane inadvertently unleashes a centuries old curse and empowers Flay, a faceless killer who drags his victims to the netherworld, brutally flays them and traps their souls.

Blu-ray Review

No details available.

Flay - Movie Review

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