Sommerleigh Pollonais, Horror Head Writer
What’s the most awkward social gathering you’ve ever been to? I mean the kind so uncomfortable you don’t even realise how tense you are until you’re on your way home and find yourself exhaling that breath you’ve been unknowingly holding.
That’s the mood I was in while watching The Razing, a movie that explores the toxic relationships that exist between a group of old friends (and I use that word very lightly) who gather together for a reunion of sorts. Secrets come out, lies are exposed and it all comes to a deadly boiling point.
From the very beginning with its muted colours, empty rooms and cold interiors, The Razing made me think of another movie full of isolation and unstable minds, The Shining (and yes, I did notice the carpet but it was more than just the décor). The performances of the actors are solid and go a long way in conveying a group of thoroughly unhappy people. You’ll wonder why these folks who obviously despise each other would ever be friends and the answer seems to be a straightforward one—broken people attract broken people.
The director does a good job of creating a deep sense of dread but the movie takes its sweet time getting to the meatier aspects of the story, which may be annoying for some. And while the actors’ performances are strong most of the characters are unlikeable, making it hard to connect or care about them. I wish the backstory of their relationships was fleshed out a bit more as well because the conversations they have feel like you’ve walked in at the middle part and you’re forced to fill in the empty spaces. However, it does make you want to pay close attention to all that’s being said.
If the performances of this movie are its strength, the cinematography might just be its weakness. The washed-out colour palette works but the camerawork and dark lighting made viewing certain scenes dizzying. Lots of low angles, wipes, spinning shots and split screens were very distracting and pulled focus from the actors way too much. I get that they are trying to convey a sense of unease to keep viewers off-kilter, but when no shot lingers more than a few seconds or are constantly out of focus it made it feel like I was watching this in a moving car rather than sitting in my own living room.
The Razing delivers strong performances from its cast and a real sense of dread from the very beginning but the slow-burn goes on for too long and draws most of the well built up tension out of the story that by the time you get to the end there isn’t much of it left. Still, I have to give them points for delivering a story with enough mystery to it I couldn’t help but want to see where it would go. The Razing is flawed but engaging and it shows a lot of promise for what’s to come from directing duo Arcane and Erskine.
Score: 5.5 out of 10
Sommerleigh of the House Pollonais. First of Her Name. Sushi Lover, Queen of Horror Movies, Comic Books and Binge Watching Netflix. Mother of two beautiful black cats named Vader and Kylo. I think eating Popcorn at the movies should be mandatory, PS4 makes the best games ever, and I’ll be talking about movies until the zombie apocalypse comes.
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You can check out The Razing for yourself when it is released on VOD on September 27, 2022 or when it is available for pre-order on Apple TV (late August). And you can check out more horror/thriller reviews below: