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November 20, 2019

Movie Review: SHHHH (2018)

I understand the appeal of horror and comedy mashing it up. I also understand the absolute HATRED of the mixed genre, because it’s either very good or fucking awful. I’m gonna have to go with the latter for my review of this flick.

SHHHH stars James Henderson as Harris, a struggling film maker in Los Angeles (how original and unexpected.) While trying to make ends meet with his job at a crappy video store—do those still exist?—he spends most of his spare time, when not making movies, with his mom at the theater. They love to go see films together, even lesbian vampires feeling each other up and licking each other’s nipples. And while they do have fun, there’s always some asshole ruining the experience: the food wrapper crinkler, the guy on his phone the whole time, the talkers, the super tall people who sit RIGHT IN FRONT OF YOU despite all the other empty’s enough to drive Harris to murder.

Eventually, Harris meets Heather, the cute blonde who just moved into his apartment complex. She super sweet, pretty, and what do you know? She’s a writer/director, too. Must be kismet! Though he senses an increasing relationship budding between them, Harris is beginning to question reality. You see, when someone pisses him off in a theater, he visualizes killing them. And then later that same day, they end up dead!

It doesn’t help that he’s still having nightmares about his abusive alcoholic father, and hallucinating about some weirdo dressed in a ski mask who’s following him around. Or is he??

Twists and turns, betrayals and paybacks, over the top gore, and lots of jokes abound. What’s not to love?


Look, I like horror and comedy just as much as the next guy. But it falls flat in spectacular fashion when you try just too fucking hard.

Aside from the humor being at 12-year-old boy level, the writer/director, Jason Rutherford, crams in every single joke that’s ever existed. On top of that, the horror elements are strictly over-the-top gore. If he wanted a mix of both comedy and horror, he should have split the responsibilities, dude. NOT SHOEHORN EVERY TROPE IN HORROR INTO THE SCRIPT, THEN POINT AT EACH ONE AND SAY, “PULL MY FINGER.”

Now, it’s possible Jason was trying to make a satire, poking a little fun at some of the ridiculous elements in rom/coms and extreme horror. Even the ending, as fucking confusing and out of place as it was, COULD have been in that vein of thinking. The mental breakdown, hallucinations, down-on-his-luck schlub with daddy issues, titty movies and strippers, masked bad guy, douche bags, incompetent cops who dress like dude-bros, the story ‘twist’, the end-not-end ending, and on and on and on and on...

Do you see what I’m getting at here? Just because you throw it all in a pot, and stir it around, doesn’t make it stew.

There were two things that kept me from shutting it off completely. 1. Joseph Pilato, as Red Harling (the movie director dad of one of the theater victims), was pretty great. His acting was skyscraper levels above everyone else, which makes sense since he’s been in the biz since the 70s; and 2. Lloyd Kaufman’s guest appearance as the apartment building landlord, Jim.

Other than those, the rest of the film felt overdone, over complicated, and by the end, one of those house guests who’s overstayed his welcome.

1 hatchets (out of 5)

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