Flay – USA, 2017 – reviews

Flay is a 2017 American supernatural horror feature film directed by digital effects creator Eric Pham (Sin City; Grindhouse, and now making his feature directorial debut) from a screenplay by Matthew Daley. The Phame Factory production stars Violett Beane, Elle LaMont and A. Michael Baldwin.

Pham commented: “I’ve always been fascinated with ghost stories and the mythologies behind ghosts and spirits. I see Flay as a contemporary mashup of the Japanese legend of the Noppera-bo, or faceless ghost, and Native American legends.”

Flay is being released on VOD from Phame Factory on April 2, 2019 via Uncork’d Entertainment

Plot:

Returning home after the mysterious death of her mother, an estranged daughter and recovering addict, inadvertently unleashes a centuries old curse by acquiring a mysterious and alluring black chain that empowers Flay, a faceless killer who drags his victims to the netherworld and returns their dead bodies to the world seemingly unharmed…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“There is a tense sense of mystery to the events that unfold in Pham’s production. This is a constant source of exhilaration. Though Daley’s confidently paced script utilizes some formulaic elements in its construction, this former stated attribute helps elevate the movie far beyond the general expectations of the genre.” Andrew Buckner, A Word of Dreams

“Chillingly suspenseful with gripping cinematography and effects that drag you into it’s aura. The film works you through various genres and has you reeling for more. Quite an impressive attempt at something different whilst also in-keeping with traditional horror core values.” Sean Evans, Back to the Movies

Flay will not entertain you. With no real action, basic characters, average camera work, and a sub-par plot, it doesn’t take any risks to elevate itself above the sum of its parts. The only people I can imagine getting excited while watching it are Slender Man fetishists.” Ted Hentschke, Dread Central

“On a technical level, Flay delivers as well. The effects are, not surprisingly, excellent. However Flay also benefits from excellent cinematography by Gary Tachell, some wonderfully distorted sound effects and an effective score by veteran Japanese composer Akihiko Matsumoto […] Flay is proof even the most overworked plots can be given fresh twists. It’s an effective film that should satisfy those looking for some scares.” Jim Morazzini, Voices from the Balcony

…Flay will hold your interest for a bit and it might be worth a bowl of popcorn. However, be warned: the end result here is neither laughably bad nor eerily spooktastic, but rather a movie that simply exists; yet another offering in an already oversaturated world of snooze.” Jeannie Blue, Cryptic Rock

” …I don’t believe anyone involved had anything other than sincere intentions of making a worthwhile supernatural spooker.  But Flay puts nearly no professional polish on anything. It isn’t engaging. It isn’t credible. The mild mix of Slender Man with The Ring with a Native American backdrop makes no practical sense.” Ian Sedensky, Culture Crypt

” …what’s nice (and unusual) about Flay is it also spends time with its characters, treats them like more than mere cannon fodder (to the point where it’s impossible to guess who dies, who survives), gives them character arcs and conflict that would also work outside a slasher framework. And that said, the film’s still tense and suspenseful and violent in all the right places, to make this one cool genre entertainment.” Mike Haberfelner, Search My Trash

“There’s a lot of jump scare music and scenes and the shaman looks like Slenderman. The pacing of the plot and the editing is a little bit off. It’s like there’s uncertainty about how to end a scene, so they immediately cut into the next scene. The teenagers in this movie might make you get very angry.” Red Carpet Crash

“Sins of the past often go unforgiven. Some sins even call for retribution. Flay (2017) successfully expands on an urban legend while also incorporating the plight of indigenous people. The combination of these two elements makes for some compelling storytelling.” John Migliore, Indie Horror Online

Flay isn’t a great movie, but it’s an interesting idea and director Pham has fun playing with camera angles and not relying on too many jump scares. He frames the antagonist in the background of certain shots or he puts part of them in the foreground to add tension. It’s an effective technique and it’s refreshing to see someone not just relying on a cheap jump scare.” Helen Murdoch, Flickering Myth

The direction by Eric Pham (who did visual effects for Grindhouse and Sin City) is either workmanlike or confusing, and there is some obvious objectification of the female actors that left me a little cold. The script by Matthew Daley needs a lot of work in terms of clarity and follow through.” Sue Finn, The Movie Waffler

” …a passable enough way to kill an hour and a half – but we really should demand more, even from disposable fare like this. Still, credit where it’s due, the film’s use of digital FX is more impressive than we typically see at this level; this, I think it’s fair to say, is the director’s real area of expertise, and on this evidence I wonder if he’d be better off sticking to that.” Ben Bussey, Warped Perspective

“The last 30 minutes makes up for the ho-hum first part. The special effects and surreal imagery at the end was well done for a low budget feature, I was quite impressed. While the plot is not going to offer much in the way of the CreepyPasta in which this movie clearly was influenced, it does add an element to the mythos that solidifies it has “homegrown horror”. Tennessee Horror

Main cast:

  • Violett Beane – Truth or Dare
  • Elle LaMont – Dead Still; Varsity Blood; From Dusk Till Dawn: The Series
  • A. Michael Baldwin – Phantasm
  • Emily Grace Dunn
  • Johnny Walter
  • Dalton E. Gray
  • Peggy Schott
  • Kaylee King
  • Savanna Jean Dupre
  • Aaron Spivey-Sorrells
  • Mike Dell
  • Stephen Latham
  • Jordan LeuVoy
  • Sarah Joy Byington
  • David Harrod Jr.

Filming locations:

Austin, Texas

Running time:

94 minutes

Trivia:

Previously known as Slender.

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