THE SPECIAL (2019) Reviews and overview

 

‘Fatal Attraction meets The Blob’

The Special is a 2019 American horror feature about a man who follows his friend down a dark rabbit hole into a landscape of nightmarish addiction.

Directed by B. Harrison Smith (Death House; Camp Dread) from a screenplay written by James Newman and Mark Steensland based on their novella, the movie stars Davy Raphaely (Camp Dread; Zombie Killers), Dave Sheridan (Sky Sharks; Victor CrowleyThe Devil’s Rejects) and Sarah French (Blind; Rootwood; Insectula).

Plot:

When Jerry Harford (Davy Raphaely) discovers what he believes to be his wife having an affair, his best friend urges him to fight fire with fire, with horrific results. Harford begins a nightmarish trip down a surreal rabbit hole…

Reviews [click links to read more]:

“This is another example of truly amazing practical effects, with one sequence in particular which harks back to a golden age of movies like The Thing and The Fly. The Special feels like it takes place in its own reality, you just need to strap yourself in and enjoy the ride.” Bloody Flicks

Death House featured much bloodier effects, but the effects in The Special are spectacular and cringe-worthy. Ultimately, Jerry is so addicted, that he is willing to allow the thing inside the box to devour his life and his body. Because of the horrible things Jerry does to keep the box to himself, his fate seems fitting.” Dread Central

” …an entertaining little oddity; it is clearly aware of its own wacky premise, and has a sly sense of humour throughout proceedings. The special effects, though sparsely used and not stellar, are admirably practical in nature. And by and large the actors do a great job with the material…” HNN

“Where most movies would have the main character slowly be corrupted by his newfound addiction with supporting characters trying to aid, The Special is not most movies. No joke–this is just a paper-thin character with no development beyond having sex with a box as the other characters barely exist and the story meanders until it ends. While there are some fun practical effects for less than ten minutes of the film, it is just an absolute tedious nightmare to get to them.” Horror Buzz

” …this is painfully obvious from the start and with no likable characters to follow it really becomes a chore. The special effects towards the end and the lighting are certainly impressive and will be a good payoff for those caught up from the beginning, but for everyone else this is a real slog to get through.” Horrorscreams Videovault

“I was grabbed by the darkly fantastical elements of The Special and was wondering the whole time, “what’s in the box?” And the Special itself is grossly fascinating, with the effects team delivering outstanding visuals that bring the horrors to eye-popping life. This a great film.” Morbidly Beautiful

” …with a solid script, real tight cinematography and a conviction to the story the director wanted to put across, they have created a little gem here. Now that’s not to say it’s perfect but for me, this crew set out with a vision and its up there for all to see and it looks good, sounds good and feels good.” Nerdly

“The effects team included Marcus Koch (We Are Still Here, Mohawk) and Cat Bernier (Purgatory Road, Alien Warfare) and they’ve created some impressively slimy and icky things. It’s a look that’s somewhere between Cronenberg’s The Fly and Street Trash. The Special may never really be scary, but it is disturbing and unsettling.” Voices from the Balcony

Commenting on The Special, B. Harrison Smith told Dread Central: “All the effects are practical in this film,” “Roy Knyrim of SOTA FX did the transformations and Monster Mark did the puppeteer and special design. I can’t really say what yet, but the practical effects kick ass.”

Cast and characters:

Davy Raphaely … Jerry Harford
Dave Sheridan … Mike
Sarah French … Lisa
Doug Henderson … Ivan
Susan Moses … Madame Zhora
Paul Cottman … Detective Barnes
Wayne Shearer … Mort
Tony Barber … Motel Manager
Lisa Budwig … Mystic Wanda
Leslie Talley … Trudy
Janae Palmer … Syn
Aleksandra Svetlichnaya … Nada
Christina DiNicolo … Erin
Nic Detorie … Dick
Sheri Fairchild … The Cleaning Lady

Filming locations:

Lancaster, Philadelphia and York, Pennsylvania

Trailer: