THE SPORE (2021) Reviews of mutant fungus sci-fi horror

 

‘It wants to consume us all’

The Spore is a 2021 American science fiction horror film about a mutated fungus that is killing everyone in a small town.

Written and directed by D.M. Cunningham (3 Demons). Produced by D.M. Cunningham, Keith Golinski and Brian Hillard.

The Night Prowler Video production stars Jeannie Jefferies (Attack of the Killer Chickens: The Movie; Midnight 2; Dawn of the Dead 1978), Haley Helsip, Peter Tell, Jackson Ezinga, Jovonnah Nicholson and Justin Golinsky.

Plot:

Fleeing from civilization as a horrific plague ravages mankind, Meadow (Jovonnah Nicholson) gets a lift from a stranger. When she sees that the driver is gruesomely infected, Meadow escapes and takes refuge in a cabin that’s abandoned… or is it? The apocalypse started days earlier when an evil spore, long-dormant beneath an ancient ice field, was awakened by global warming.

Now, as ten strangers try to evade the madness, some must succumb to the hideously mutating fungus and claim the survivors as their bitter prey…

Reviews:

” …what could have been an exercise in fetishizing the practical FX monster movies of the past is, in Cunningham’s hands, something far more sombre. Some of the victims die quickly, others become murderous as their infection advances […] The pace rarely changes; there’s no big fiery finale, just more and more infection…” Bloody Flicks

“The only thing that bothered me was the extreme slowness in the first half, but that ended up not being a problem after all […] I highly recommend it. It’s a really fun mashup of eco-horror and body horror (with a few creature feature elements too) that combines some of the best elements of anthology films and more traditional singular storylines…” JP Nunez, Horror Obsessive

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” …the characters—such as they are—are not given much depth, but this makes sense. Reminding me of Romero’s The Crazies, this is an observation of events that could take place anywhere, among any people. If you have any interest in body horror or eco-horror, you’ll get your fill of both in this one simple film.” Alix Turner, Horror Obsessive

“In so many ways, the film is lifeless, moving along at a lethargic pace and ultimately resulting in a gross mess. This is a story that hardly ever feels like it has anywhere to go but right back into the dirt. Viewers seeking a creature feature with an injection of fun gross-out effects will find something to enjoy with The Spore because on that end, it’s the sort of wet, putrid, gross body-horror flick we all crave.” Killer Horror Critic

“Like Ben Wheatley’s In The Earth by way of Netflix’s Black SummerThe Spore has true elements of craftsmanship from D.M. Cunningham and co. buried deep within, but on surface level, it proves to be nothing more than a shallow and unfulfilling experience that squanders its interesting premise in favour of generic thrills. Respect is earned for this daring shot in the dark, but unfortunately, the payoff just feels like a dud.” Love Horror

Release date:

The Spore was screened at Grimmfest in the UK and is now available to rent or buy on Digital.

The film will be released in the USA on DVD by Lionsgate on November 9, 2021. Special features:

Filmmakers’ Commentary
The Spore – Random Acts of Filmmaking” Featurette
Trailer

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Cast and characters:

Peter Tell … Israel
Jeannie Jefferies … Vera
Haley Heslip … Serena
Brian Hillard … CDC Agent J. Reader
Jackson Ezinga … Thomas
Zoe Cunningham
Jovonnah Nicholson … Meadow
Justin Golinsky … Lowell

Notes:

83 minutes in there’s a shot of a creature with tons of teeth that’s presumably a homage to The Deadly Spawn (1983).

Trailer:

MOVIES and MANIA says:

The Spore benefits from some great cinematography by Keith Golinski and a few wonderful body horror meltdown effects. That’s where the positives end, unfortunately. There is simply no decent narrative flow, with an ill-defined protagonist wandering the woods for the first thirty minutes while way too many radio voiceovers are heard in the background attempting to provide context.

It’s all very vacuous and even the most ardent horror fans will begin to lose interest. Still, the film slogs on when we focus on other characters whilst some poorly-lit night scenes inside a car (while the radio carries on reporting, ad nauseum) and nonchalant dialogue hardly help matters. From then, it’s all more talk… talk… talk.

Meanwhile, a ponderous synth score from the aptly named Dreaming In Neon really doesn’t propel the lack of a story forward. Beyond the astonishingly poor pacing, it beggars belief that a name company such as Lionsgate are now desperate enough to pick up The Spore, for release as it doesn’t have enough plot for a decent short let alone a feature.

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