*NOTE: This review is going to be a CAPSULE review, which means it’ll be a tight, quick critique of the film.
If 8: A South African Horror Story is a representation of the country’s horror films, they have some issues to work out. Though there are some creepy elements and a lot of culture, the film is almost scareless and has a really messy plot.
I was a bit confused while watching the film, but it looks at a man who wanders the lands of South Africa looking for souls. When he stumbles on a family on a farm, he befriends them and begins to seek atonement for a tragedy in the past.
There are some things to like about this movie. The cinematography and sets are stunning, with a number of striking images that might be some of the prettiest screenshots I have seen all year. The finale of the film is wild, especially when the film changes dimensions, which allows the color pallet of the film to change and look insane. There was a lot of potential here, but it wasn’t fully realized.
I wish the film was scarier overall. There wasn’t anything that shook me. There were parts that were almost there, but the film pulled its punches to go for full scares. The family on the farm was also very uninteresting and with them being on screen most of the time, it was really hard to connect with them. There is also a group of natives in the film who aren’t utilized as well as they could have been.
I had never seen a South African horror movie before 8: A South African Horror Story, but it isn’t the greatest start. Though visually stunning, the film lacked scares and good characters, which are the key components to a great horror movie.
8: A South African Horror Story was part of the AFTER DARK program at the 55th Chicago International Film Festival