Tonight She Comes – Review (*** 1/2)

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Sam Raimi would certainly be proud of Matt Stuertz’ (RWD) sophomore feature, an initial slow burn that eventually gives way to some of the most grotesque, imaginative imagery seen in any movie, horror or otherwise, all year.

After a young woman goes missing, two of her pals and a group of strangers find themselves drawn to the area where she disappeared, specifically a log cabin that is besieged by a most terrifying evil; a nude, bloody vestige of a woman (Dal Nicole) that will dismantle anyone who dares get in her way.

It’s an incredibly familiar premise, of course, and in fairness, Stuertz’s movie gets off to a fairly slow start, but it’s worth persevering through a rather routine opening for an absolutely killer second-half that’s sure to perk just about every card-carrying horror fan up.

While saying too much about what happens following the gear-changing moment would be criminal, rest assured that it ratchets the stomach-churning grand guignol up to dimensions both hilarious and nauseating, with the surviving cast of actors fully committing themselves to Stuert’z increasingly demanding requests.

Particularly praise-worthy are Jenna McDonald as Felicity, a seemingly archetypal southern hick character with far more up her sleeve than expected, and Larissa White as Ashley, a hot pants-clad beauty who is a little tougher than her soft exterior might suggest. And of course, there’s Dal Nicole, who plays the titular She and had to spend cold December nights traipsing around in the nude covered in fake blood. She has real presence here, and the nudity in fact makes the character that much more unsettling rather than debasing her to a mere sex object.

On a technical level, this is incredibly sharp stuff for what’s presumably quite low-budget; cinematography is appropriately grimy, while composer Wojciech Golczewski lends some crunchy 80s-style synths that are now so commonplace in the genre. It all adds up to a deeply disquieting mood and tone that leads to one hell of a memorable finale you likely won’t be able to shake for weeks.

While its first half is a slow-burn and somewhat on the passable side, Tonight She Comes transforms into a hardcore, blood-soaked beast of a movie in its final 40 minutes, and is an easy recommendation for more patient genre fans.

*** 1/2

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