Review: Hulu And Blumhouse Kick Things Off Right With Bloody Fun INTO THE DARK Premiere "THE BODY"
Based on a short with the same title from 2013, The Body is the first entry into Blumhouse and Hulu’s grand adventure Into the Dark, a monthly horror anthology that presents films based around one holiday from that month.
The Body is the story of a suave, bordering sociopathic hitman who murders a big time billionaire on Halloween and must deliver the body within a four hour time window. When Halloween hijinks ensure, the night ends up leading him astray, first to a giant holiday rager hosted by rich geek culture enthusiast Jack, and then on a chase through the streets in a race against time.
Director Paul Davis, who also co-wrote the film alongside Paul Fischer, have really hit a home run here. Davis is able to masterfully guide The Body through an incredibly vast range of feelings, atmosphere and genres. The premise is so simple, having a hitman use the guise of Halloween to allow him to drag a dead body around in public, but Davis dances around with the idea to allow it to freely and smoothly fit into whatever spectrum the story needs to go. Sometimes the film feels distinctly action, while other times it leans into the dramatic, however it mostly rides the lines of a black comedy and (stay with me here) a romantic comedy. What makes it truly fantastic, though, is that is never feels clogged or bloated, instead, like a perfectly made strand of DNA, these genres twist and weave together into something that creates a very fun, fleshed out film.
The movie is very clearly a Halloween film but, much like many of the characters, in disguise. It’s not overtly horror or holiday themed, but is still able to use the day as a framework and basis for the general plot and something that carries over and creates an appeasing and enticing aesthetic throughout the movie. Every time you think you may have figure out what direction it’s headed in, Davis throws a curveball and in fact delivers two of the biggest shocks I didn’t see coming in quite some time. He also bounces back and forth between our main character, Wilkes the hitman, and a group of party-goers that are trying to evade him while also figuring out what to do with the body. This allows us some levity from some of the more intense, dramatic scenes with pop culture banter and very real acting relationship between three frenemies.
Ash vs The Evil Dead star Ray Santiago delivers most of the laughs as Jack, alongside David Hull and Aurora Perrineau as Alan and Dororthy, and the trio bounce off each other greatly. Tom Bateman, our assassin, is outstanding. Wilkes is a suave, cynical primal urge brought to life, who somehow is able to be both completely intimidating but also incredibly likable. His delivery of his incredibly nihilistic views on the world make Wilkes one of the most memorable characters of his ilk in a long while, giving off strong vibes of Dan Stevens performance in The Guest. He is a man who relishes in his taste and class but makes a living performing horrible acts of well delivered violence, and Bateman makes it look easy within both worlds. Rebecca Rittenhouse delivers the most memorable performance as Maggie. Fascinated by Wilkes and coming to realization that she may have the same animalistic instincts as him, right in front of us, is no easy labor. Rittenhouse plays a strong and confident woman who isn’t afraid to shame men for asking women to conform to gender roles, and her evolution is the most intriguing plot point of the film. The idea of a love plot inside this horror themed dark comedy could come off as cheesy but because of Rittenhouse’s performance, it’s the most fascinating idea introduced.
Plain and simple, The Body has something for everyone. It’s funny in a broad sense and then again in a bleak sort of way. It has just enough gore and twists to satiate the sweet tooth of any horror or thriller fan while still juggling comedic and romantic elements that add to the overall film, never detracting. Hulu and Blumhouse are starting Into the Dark with a bang and The Body is one bloody, charming, hell of a fun ride.
The Body will be available to watch now, October 5th, on Hulu.