Flay Opens With a Bang But Can’t Stick The Landing
Flay Film Details
Director: Eric T. Pham
Writer: Matthew Daley
Release Date: April 2nd, 2019
Release Format: VOD / Digital
MPAA Rating: ON IMDB
Genre: ON IMDB
Running Time: 1 Hour, 43 Minutes
Social Networking: Facebook Page
After the death of her mother, an estranged daughter struggles to save her brother and those around her from a malevolent faceless spirit.
Flay is a fantasy-horror film depicting a Slender Man-esque character as the antagonist who appears to his victims following the use or touch of a cursed chain. Once said chain handled by an individual, they are subjected to flashes of horrifying imagery and inevitable death.
Coming into Flay, I was already impressed by the trailer and what the film was doing in comparison to Sony’s Slender Man, who attempted to silence Phame Factory’s attempt at creating a film with the aforementioned character.
Read More About Sony’s and Phame Factory’s Legal Battle in DecayMag Digital Issue I
Slender Man was a less than stellar display of a character who has a very ripe online culture full of stories to choose from. In place of creating something unique, Sony decided to base their film off of a tragedy. Flay, on the other hand, was able to take the well know online creation, working him into a fresh, new storyline, all the while avoiding anything remotely close to the “Slender Man Incident” which resulted in the ritualistic stabbing of a young girl back in 2014 by two of her classmates.
This original story idea starts off on the right foot as writer Matthew Daley was able to incorporate an origin story for the antagonist, giving the mysterious character a plot point to work the film from. These are key in films as it is incredibly important to allow viewers to make sense of the story as it is playing out in front of them. Otherwise, you’re stuck with something nonsensical which only children may find enjoyable.
This origin brings an immediate interest to the film which, pieced together with stunning outdoor visuals and perfectly timed sound effects resulting in a quick and easy opening scare, really got me excited for what the rest of the film had in store for me. Unfortunately, this feeling of excitement slowly subsided until I was left bored and unimpressed.
When introduced to all the characters throughout the film, I became incredibly annoyed with most of them by either, the way they were portrayed or the quality of their acting ability.
With the exception of Aaron Spivey-Sorrells who only had a very minor role and Johnny Walter, one of the leads, the cast was near atrocious. The biggest disappointment for myself personally was how Violett Beane was used as she typically portrays a strong, intelligent, role model type as seen in her performances in The Flash. But for whatever reason, she was degraded to a type of careless bimbo who uses her body alongside sex to garner attention.
As the film progresses, the tired use of many different variables continues to factor into Flay’s deterioration. The CGI, which I had originally praised about through my trailer review, was being abundantly overused, while the opposite was taking place with the practical effects which had been completely displayed in the trailer with seemingly no additional uses of the effects to be seen in the film itself. On top of this, the sound editing was also starting to become affected as well, losing the flair it held early on in the film when being doubled up with quick flashes which provided some incredibly effective early jumpscares but fails to do the same in the latter half of the story and instead, replaces them with ridiculous CGI infiltrated kills which, in all honesty, doesn’t make any sense as they aren’t really explained and for those who aren’t familiar with any of the Slender Man lore, will likely get confused by them.
Overall, the best way to describe the way Flay plays out is that the film is like going skiing. It starts off on a high note but progressively goes down in overall quality with each passing thirty-minute interval. The only redeeming factor is the cinematography but even that gets trampled over with CGI effects by the end of the film.
Unless you’re a fan of the creepypasta star himself, I would highly suggest staying away from this flick but for comparison sake, when going up against Sony’s Slender Man film, Flay outweighs it in practically every single aspect and would be my suggested pick in a battle between the faceless suit wearing killers.