‘Z wants to play’
Z is a 2019 Canadian supernatural horror feature film directed by Brandon Christensen (Still/Born) from a screenplay co-written with Colin Minihan (What Keep You Alive; It Stains the Sands Red; Extraterrestrial).
When Beth (Keegan Connor Tracy) and Kevin’s (Sean Rogerson) eight-year-old son Joshua (Jett Klyne) develops an imaginary friend named Z, they think it’s cute. However, they soon realise just how wrong they are.
Z becomes a terrible influence on Josh and their innocent son turns into someone they do not recognise. It’s only when Beth starts uncovering her own past, that she learns that Josh’s new friend Z, may not be so imaginary, after all…
[May contain spoilers] Reviews:
“The final reel does move to the more standard territory but remains effective because of the time that director Brandon Christensen spends in establishing the characters (it’s a trick he pulled off to similar effect in his first feature, 2017’s Still/Born). A solid effort, not totally original, but immensely creepy.” Bloody Flicks
” …this low-grade, if well-acted, horror hardly brings anything new to the table, relying on weary cliches, and though “Z” throws a curveball midway through, attempting to head in a different direction, the twist itself is far from convincing and does not help the story to evolve, delivering one cheap boo scare after another…” Cinemarvellous!
“Though not the perfect version of the genre of spooky kids and imaginary friends who are really ghosts, Z is an absolute standout fright that merits a viewing. I don’t imagine it achieving the cult-like status of other indies in its category, but it certainly will seep into the general consciousness over time.” Daily Dead
“Z hits all the beats a viewer would expect from a suburban creepy kid movie. Brittany Allen’s score deserves a mention […] It’s a pulsing narrative that reaches a peak then loses its way a bit in the third act as the film eases away from the jarring direction the story was headed at the end.” Flick Hunter
“Z is a nice take on the creepy kid/imaginary friend film that doesn’t go exactly where you think it does. The film could have really gone to a very unexpected place that I can’t mention for the sake of any spoilers but where the film ends and how it ends is a gutsy decision on the part of the filmmakers and certainly doesn’t give the audience any easy ways out.” Haddonfield Horror
” …this is a domestic spook story that runs on familiar, but effective lines. Tracy is excellent in the lead, and Klyne is exquisitely unlikeable as the kid who always says the wrong thing.” The Kim Newman Web Site
” …I was really wanting it to take the plunge and go all the way. When everything is lined up for a big finale and that finale sort of limps away at the end, you can’t help but be a little disappointed. Overall, creepy kid movies are something I enjoy and this film has plenty going for it.” Mother of Movies
“Z keeps us gripped with just the right mix of slow-burn menace, occasional and effective jump scares, and an earnest performance by Tracy. All this helps to paper over how conventional its narrative really is, but there’s something comforting about watching conventions pulled off with such unshowy grace.” The Movie Waffler
“The A and B stories, which at first seemed miles away from one another, are revealed to be one and the same by the film’s climax, and the way it all comes together won’t satisfy those who like happy endings; but for the rest, it should prove suitably sobering and properly shocking.” Rue Morgue
“Z takes more than a few unexpected plot turns, mostly to narrow the focus until only Elizabeth is left alone, but also to deliver a handful of well-executed, effective scares and jumps. Christensen keeps the jump scares to a minimum, usually building up to them gradually, stoking audience anticipation and dread well past the point of no return…” Screen Anarchy
” …mostly Z walks a fine line between the creepy kid and family curse genres before finally showing its hand […] The last act of Z manages to build to an extremely tense payoff. It’s nothing that you would have expected at the film’s start either. It’s very refreshing to see a film like this go somewhere unexpected…” Voices from the Balcony
Having premiered at the Blood in the Snow Festival in Toronto, Z was acquired by the Shudder streaming platform and was added to their roster in early May 2020. A Blu-ray will be released by RJLE Films on September 15, 2020.
Cast and characters:
Keegan Connor Tracy … Elizabeth Parsons – Dead Rising: Endgame; Dead Rising: Watchtower; Bates Motel TV series; Embrace of the Vampire; Final Destination 2; The New Addams Family TV series
Jett Klyne … Joshua Parsons
Sean Rogerson … Kevin Parsons – Still/Born; Bitten TV series; Extraterrestrial; Grave Encounters and sequel
Sara Canning … Jenna Montgomery
Stephen McHattie … Doctor Seager – Rabid 2019; mother!; Awakening the Zodiac; Hellmouth; et al
Chandra West … Georgia Cadere
Ali Webb … Mrs Hirsch
Deborah Ferguson … Alice Montgomery
Kevin Doree … Dad
Fox Rose … Daniel Cadere
Jayson Therrien … Beth’s Father