Separation is a 2021 American horror film about a young girl who finds solace in her artist father and her dead mother. The theme is the sometimes terrifying consequences of divorce.
Directed by William Brent Bell (Orphan: First Kill; The Boy and Brahms: The Boy II; Wer; The Devil Inside) from a screenplay co-written by Nick Amadeus and Josh Braun, the movie stars Rupert Friend, Brian Cox, Madeline Brewer, Mamie Gummer and Violet McGraw.
Eight-year-old Jenny (Violet McGraw) is constantly caught in the middle of the feuding between her lawyer mother Maggie (Mamie Gummer) and artist father Jeff (Rupert Friend). She leads a lonely but imaginative life, surrounded by puppets called “Grisly Kin”, which are based on the works of her father.
When Maggie is tragically killed in a hit-and-run, Jeff and Jenny try to piece together a new life. But when Maggie’s father (Brian Cox) sues for custody, and babysitter Samantha (Madeline Brewer) tries to be the new woman of the house, life in their Brooklyn townhome takes a dark turn.
The puppets and frightening characters come to life and Jenny is the only person who can see them. When the motives of the ghoulish creatures become clear, the lives of everyone are put very much in jeopardy…
Separation will be released theatrically in the USA by Open Road Films and Briarcliff Entertainment on April 30th 2021.
[May contain spoilers] Reviews:
” …Separation isn’t very scary. An excess of talky scenes causes the horror sequences to be too spaced apart. When they do arrive, none of them fully capitalize on the core premise […] The movie fails to establish that as strongly as it needs to. An obvious third-act revelation, meant to be a surprise, doesn’t help matters any.” The Aisle Seat
“Every character feels entirely flavorless […] It all ends with a laughably predictable twist that minimizes intriguing supernatural elements into dated stereotypes (the twist feels like a hail mary to give this narrative a pulse). It may score points for general competency, but Separation flatly sleepwalks through a majority of its runtime.” BRWC
” …when the dust settles and the feeding frenzy concludes, Separation will get a chance to redefine itself. There’s a lot of promise within its mid-century, New York walls. And though the final package is an awkward beast, walking with the finesse of its own haunted puppets, it warrants a look.” Dread Central
” …the script from debut feature writers Nick Amadeus and Josh Braun seems to be more concerned with building to a so telegraphed twist; it would be a spoiler to describe certain characters in greater detail. You will be questioning yourself if it’s really that obvious, and yes, it’s really that obvious.” Flickering Myth
“Karl Walter Lindenlaub’s lensing of extensive Brooklyn locations provides the proper spooky atmosphere (audience members will certainly look twice crossing the street on the way home) and Brett Detar’s score delivers further jolts. But you know there’s something off about a horror film when you look forward more to the quiet dramatic scenes than the appearances of the creatures that provide its raison d’etre.” The Hollywood Reporter
“Whether something is scary is truly in the eye of the beholder, but I can’t picture anyone finding much here to be truly horrific. Overuse of CGI hampers the level of scary immeasurably […] More of Separation falls in the so-bad-it’s-good category than anything else.” Josh @ the Movies
“The horror of Separation, though, doesn’t work. The characters and their grief mean so little, and the ghosts’ behavior isn’t explained until a final twist […]There’s also the fact that the execution of these scare sequences is consistently and quite silly.” Mark Reviews Movies
“You never miss blatant jump scares until you’re one hour into a film and the need to feel something, anything, is prevalent. As a divorce drama and horror movie combined, Separation logistically is all over the place […] There’s truth baked in Separation about facing the demons of fatherhood, but as the title suggests, it’s best to detach yourself from this dopey and lazy piece of filmmaking.” The Only Critic
” …the scare tactics largely amount to tepid now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t tricks and nightmare scenes; there’s even a nightmare within a nightmare (seriously? What year are we in?). One bit involving an evilly grinning contortionist creature coming after Jeff does pack a bit of chill, lessened by the fact that here, as elsewhere, Friend’s reactions seem far less scared and concerned than they should be.” Rue Morgue
“I felt the visual appeal was nicely crafted in areas of the story to land some fun moments of frightening and lively horror. The storyline however was a drag. The pacing was uneven, and it didn’t bring enough of its own creative elements to the table to stand on its own legs.” The Silver Screen Analysis
Cast and characters:
Rupert Friend … Jeff
Brian Cox … Rivers
Madeline Brewer … Samantha
Mamie Gummer … Maggie
Violet McGraw … Jenny
Simon Quarterman … Alan
Troy James … Nerezza
Manny Perez … Officer Pitt
Chelsea Debo … Cori
Ratnesh Dubey … Victor
Lorrie Odom … Officer Rossi
Eric T. Miller … Connor
Kareemeh Odeh … Paramedic
Jenny Hann … Grim Figure Puppeteer
Brooklyn Fire Proof Stages, Brooklyn, New York