Friday, October 21, 2022

October Horror Movie Challenge: Hex (2017)

Hex (2017)
I was not expecting a Cavaliers and Roundheads movie tonight, but here we go. 

Hex (2017)

This movie belongs to a genre that I am starting to call "The Real Monsters are Humans" which of course if you read any horror, or even just watch Scooby-Doo, you will realize is actually a lot of horror. But movies want to have a monster, whether that monster is a literal one like Godzilla, a transformed one like Freddie, or a metaphorical one, like the Babadook. This movie sets up one monster but really it is the one in front of us the whole time.

Set during the English Civil War (1642–1651) we have a Parliamentarian, Thomas (played by William Young) and a Royalist, Richard (Daniel Oldroyd). They encounter each other in the woods after a long and bloody battle. Thomas is obviously religious, taking time to pray. Richard though is extremely loyal to the King. When they meet Thomas suggests they don't have to fit, but Richard decides the best way to do that is to kill Thomas quickly.

These two chase each other through the woods and there is very little to no dialog for several stretches of minutes. Richard obviously wants to kill Thomas much more than the other way around.  The whole time they are playing this cat-and-mouse game (including Thomas hiding in an old churchyard) you get the feeling there is something sinister here. Both soldiers catch glimpses of a hooded figure just outside of sight.

Eventually, Thomas stumbles onto a camp and arms himself with a rifle. When Richard finds the camp their stand-off is changed. Thomas tells Richard he needs him alive to fight the evil in this forest, an evil they have both felt. Thomas at this point declares it is a witch.

The two reluctantly work together and keep seeing things. Are they real, are they dreams or visions?

Finally, they decide to reconsecrate the church to force the witch out.  Here it is learned that Richard may have killed Thomas' brother, and they fight some more, but now Richard seems to be the level-headed one while Thomas is unhinged. 

They do find the witch (played by Suzie Frances Garton), but she turns out to be an old woman that is just trying to scare them from her woods. They corner her in a cave and she tells them of a life where she had basically been brutalized for as long as she could remember. Richard puts away his sword and wants to talk, and offers a quick and painless death.  Thomas is not having that. He pushes her out of the cave where she falls and hits her head. She tries to crawl away, but Thomas (in the name of God no less) gets on her back and stabs her repeatedly while she screams.

The cast is quite good and if these were less capable actors then this would have been pretty dull. Thomas' turn from seemingly innocent bystander in this war to a blood-thirsty monster is only eclipsed by Richard's man of unflinching, and unthinking duty, to one that tries to understand his place in this war. 

Of course, the "witch" is no monster, but Richard and Thomas are. 

This film was reportedly made for just about £1,000.00. I don't know if that included the actors' pay of not, but it does show you can do an effective movie without a big budget.

October Horror Movie Challenge 2022
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October Horror Movie Challenge 2022

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