DEPRAVED (2019) Reviews and overview

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Depraved is a 2019 American horror feature film written and directed by Larry Fessenden (BeneathThe Last Winter; Wendigo; Habit). The Glass Eye Pix/Forager co-production is a contemporary re-imagining of Mary Shelley’s novel Frankenstein. The movie stars David Call, Joshua Leonard, and Alex Breaux as the monster.

Commenting on his movie, Fessenden said: “I’ve been moved by the iconic character since childhood and it is a great thrill to try and put my version on the screen.”


Henry (David Call) is a field surgeon suffering from PTSD after combat in the Middle East. He creates a man out of body parts in a makeshift lab in Gowanus, Brooklyn. The creature Henry creates must navigate a strange new world and the rivalry between Henry and his conniving collaborator Polidori (Joshua Leonard)…


Depraved premiered at What the Fest!? in New York City in March 2019. Glass Eye Pix released the film theatrically in the USA on September 13th.

Currently available on VOD, Depraved will be released by Scream Factory-IFC Midnight as a Blu-ray + DVD combo pack on January 7th 2020.

Reviews [click links to read more]:
Depraved is a solid entry in Larry Fessenden’s body of work, with a fresh enough approach and enough emotional weight to justify yet another Frankenstein retelling. Tedious tangents of commentary threaten to undermine what Fessenden’s great command of craft had already shown the audience, but the overall viewing experience is a fine one.” Dread Central

“Fessenden approaches the material through an existentialist’s lens, touching on how what we experience, not only the mental but the corporeal, forms us as people. The film’s view specifically on fathers who pass down toxic legacies crosses over from ideology into action, exploring how the patriarchy’s psychological violence can, and almost always does, translate into the physical.” Father Son Holy Gore

“Call’s portrayal of Henry is a highlight, with the character vacillating between a sympathetic creator and a troubled, self-indulgent mad scientist, whose true motivations for pursuing the experiment never quite clear. Depraved marks one of Fessenden’s best films to date, showcasing the director’s ability to craft a memorable, stylish and creatively astute narrative on a small budget.” Film Pulse

“By giving you the experience through the captive brain of poor Alex in the patchwork body of poor Adam, Fessenden insists that you ask yourself if it’s really nature or nurture. The interpretation is entirely yours, but you will get both sides of the coin for close examination. Depraved is Fessenden’s strongest creation to date and one of the best takes on the tale of the Modern Prometheus ever produced.” Horror DNA

“The tortured nuance of the film’s core gives way to a broad throwdown between right and wrong, and the DIY charm that “Depraved” relies on to stress how we’re all stuck in a horror movie is replaced by an overextended attempt to make this story feel larger than life.” IndieWire

Depraved often alludes to the original novel and traditionally gothic films in sly ways. In what will be a relief to many, the film is not at all as lectury as one might expect, despite Henry’s military background and the fundamental folly-of-playing-god-theme (especially compared to Fessenden’s The Last Winter). Altogether, it is a pretty impressive work of ultra-indie auteurist horror cinema.” J.B. Spins

“The intriguing dream sequences and composited visual effects caught my attention early on. The emotionally charged acting reminds us that this is a tale worth telling over the centuries. Unique editing and film making techniques kept me interested throughout the narrative. Depraved is a unified vision from Larry Fessenden, his cast and crew.” OC Movie Reviews

“It’s a great horror film, one that has an amazing super performance by Breaux and an excellent one by Call. Only the clunky performances by Leonard and Kayne are not stitched tightly together. But all is forgiven, as the tumultuous finale ratchet ups the horror scares and delivers the cult film to the upper echelons of horror pics.” Ozus’ World Movie Reviews

” …Depraved reinvents the Frankenstein myth for our own times. Adam’s fate is deeply moving (Will Bates’ gentle score certainly helps modulate the melancholy), and handled by Fessenden with due gravity (a key word in the film) – but Adam’s story is also about us, and our place in an atomised, synthetic world of streaming sensations, wounded history and broken identity.” Projected Figures

“The film feels satisfactory because of how clever it pieces together the elements that we already know about and how it introduces technology and elements from real life to generate the definitive Prometian tale of the decade. It’s a surprisingly entertaining film that speaks enough about what is humanity while having quite a bit of fun as well.” Screen Anarchy

“The film has much to say about the medical industry and its ethics or lack thereof […] Fessenden has never directed typical horror films so we shouldn’t be expecting one here either. Depraved is much more of a dark drama with horror elements than an all-out fright film. And it’s much better for it, his talents would be wasted on another generic “creature on the loose” film.” Voices from the Balcony

Cast and characters:

  • David Call … Henry
  • Joshua Leonard … Polidori
  • Alex Breaux … Adam
  • Ana Kayne … Liz
  • Maria Dizzia … Georgina
  • Chloe Levine … Lucy
  • Owen Campbell … Alex
  • Addison Timlin … Shelley
  • Chris O’Connor … Mr. Beaufort
  • Alice Barrett … Mrs. Beaufort
  • Andrew Lasky … Sam the Bartender
  • Jack Fessenden … Eddie
  • James Tam … Mr. Zhang
  • Zilong Zee … Mr. Ling
  • Noah Le Gros … Soldier Adam – The Beach House; A Score to Settle

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