Castle Freak (2020) – Film Review

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By @Roger Crow

I’ve not seen the original Castle Freak from 1995, but considering it’s from the Re-Animator dream team of Barbara Crampton, co-star Jeffrey Combs and much missed director Stuart Gordon, now I really want to.

Ms Crampton clearly saw a lot of mileage in the material as she’s one of the backers behind this schlock horror revamp. And no, this one doesn’t involve Ant, Dec and a load of celebrities coping with creepy crawlies. However, there’s plenty of unpleasant moments, from the opening, which feels like The Name of the Rose, to the finale, which features some of the most icky effects you’ll ever see.

It centres on Rebecca, an attractive blonde. After she is permanently blinded in a tragic car accident, it seems like her life has ended just as it was beginning. However, a strange second chance arises when she receives some bizarre news: her long-lost-mother has recently passed away, leaving her their family’s ancestral castle in her will.

castle freak 2020 film review horror

“Icky effects”

Travelling to the estate with her friends, Rebecca hopes it will be a chance for her to reconnect with a past she never knew, and a mum who seemingly left her behind. As mysterious happenings begin to occur, Rebecca must unravel her family’s secrets before she too falls prey to the eponymous castle.

I’d love to say this is a masterpiece of creeping dread, but as legendary horror mag Fangoria stumped up a chunk of cash, naturally the onus is more on OTT monsters than subtle chills. It’s the sort of a film where a guy’s coitus with a blonde model type is interrupted by her sudden demise, and she is replaced by a hideous demon while he’s oblivious.

Subtle it really isn’t.

However, horror fans who prefer icky effects to a well-honed screenplay and a great cast should enjoy it. And it also features one of those final shots which is both horrific and hilarious. I’ll not ‘labour’ the point, though that will give you an idea of the context.

Performances5
Direction6
Script4
Editing6
Effects7
Castle Freak is out now on digital platforms
5.6
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