Appendage (2023)

Appendage (2023)

Promising ideas keep this body horror afloat, but it's all too literal to be truly terrifying

5.6

Movie

United States of America
English
Comedy, Drama, Horror, Mystery
2023
ANNA ZLOKOVIC, FEMALE DIRECTOR
Annie Pisapia, Brandon Mychal Smith, Daniel Chioco
94 min

Watch now

Powered by

TLDR

Raise a hand if you ever wanted your anxiety to literally leave your body.

What it's about

Hannah (Hadley Robinson) is trying really hard to keep up with her demanding job as an apprentice to a fashion designer, to open up to her boyfriend, and to manage the expectations of her cold mother. One day, self-doubt gets the best of her in a pretty literal way as her darkest thoughts become a gruesome entity of their own.

The take

Horror likes to take a human fear and personify it. It's a winning move, materializing our worst nightmares, but what does a woman's self-doubt look like? In this case, extremely ugly and somewhat laughable, but surely not scary. The special effects team dropped the ball on this one, and the appendage's physical presence is more distracting than anything. Its concept and its aura, though, go a long way, and there are a few admirable twists and turns that make a curious point about female psychology and social expectations. Their interdependency then translates into the film's sparse backstory, tracing a journey of trauma that's surprisingly relatable. Interestingly enough, director Anna Zlokovic made a short of the same name in 2021 which teased the idea of a monster sucking your confidence in secret, but her latest feature film lacks that punch. 

What stands out

While this is not a film for the faint-hearted, Appendage takes its body horror seriously. Of course, David Cronenberg's The Brood or Scanners come to mind, and you can tell Zlokovic learned from the best. The despicable creature in her film is not as scary or expertly crafted, but she knows better than to rely strictly on the gore. Instead, her mastery in turning the female body into a ticking bomb is praiseworthy. Whether Hannah prods at her stomach wound or just chips at her fingernail—to that excruciating sound of nail scratching nail—there's so much self-sabotage internalized in every gesture. What sets Appendage apart even as a second-rate horror film is how anxiety can be expressed through body horror to the point of hair-raising ick. 

Active Streaming Deals

$50 Off DirecTV Stream

$74.99

$64.99

Active Streaming Deals

69% Off NordVPN + 3 months Free

$14.99

$4.99

Active Streaming Deals

50% Off Sling

$40

$20

Active Streaming Deals

49% Off ExpressVPN

$12.95

$6.67

Comments

Add a comment

What did you think? Who should watch it?

UP NEXT 

UP NEXT 

UP NEXT 

Frybread Face and Me (2023)

A gorgeous and tender coming-of-age addition to the Indigenous New Wave

8.0

Last Call for Istanbul (2023)

A seemingly generic Turkish romance travel film, until it gets into its second half

7.0

Forgotten Love (2023)

The stunning third take of the classic Polish pre-war melodrama

7.7

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)

A star-studded and riveting legal drama with a blockbuster feel.

9.1

Elena Knows (2023)

A moving mother-daughter drama based on a Booker Prize shortlist novel

7.5

A Deadly Invitation (2023)

A Mexican whodunit that feels more like an infodump than a compelling murder mystery

5.5

Nightmare Alley (2021)

A psychological thriller of the highest quality, masked as an adult fairytale, by the great Guillermo del Toro

9.0

The Conference (2023)

A Swedish slasher comedy with the world’s worst team building retreat

7.3

The Guilty (2018)

A minimalist, razor-sharp thriller that will have you gasping for air.

9.0

Nowhere (2023)

A riveting Spanish Netflix survival thriller brought to life in Anna Castillo’s performance

7.8

Curated by humans, not algorithms.

agmtw logo

© 2023 agoodmovietowatch, all rights reserved.