Film Review: SOFT MATTER (2018)

SOFT MATTER *** USA 2018 Dir: Jim Hickcox 72 mins 

Two scientists have holed up in an abandoned hospice using the last of its dying residents to conduct experiments in immortality by splicing them with aquatic creatures such as lobsters, jellyfish and octopus. These experiments have angered the Goddess of the Sea who appears to them in a mop bucket in a broom cupboard at first before revealing herself and reeking havoc on the scientists.
In the meantime, two graffiti artists break into the hospice to showcase their work in a place they believe is haunted only to discover some of the hideous creations and get caught up in the ensuing conflict! This colourful and entertaining nostalgia trip boasts randomness and the bizarre with a truly awesome electro synth 80’s/90’s soundtrack throughout. Great use of practical FX with the monsters and buckets of slime used to great effect. Bit of a cheesy script and verges on being a tad arty at times with some (make that most) of its  randomness coming with absolutely no explanation at all but it does make up for it with some brilliant characters. For example there is the seductive Treefish and, not forgetting,  the highly entertaining dancing Mr. Sacks. The scientists Dr’s Kriegspiel (Mary Anzalone) and Grist (Hal Schneider) make a great bickering duo. Grist is also plays the part of the carer for their experiments: on discovering Mr. Sacks prostrate on the floor after a late night dance session Grist exclaims with concern “Mr. Sacks you ruined your freshest kicks!” before escorting  the exhausted slime bag back to his room. The graffiti artists Kish ( Ruby Led Dove ll) and Haircut (Devyn Placide) fit the bill as unassuming heroes. The Sea God herse!f, voiced and acted by two different people, did look really good but something about her doesn’t really flow as well as the others, it might just be me but I got a bit of a Scooby Doo under current going on with her. There are a lot of neon laser/lightening bolt things and weird cartoony details added in which is fun but does detract from the already light horror element. As mentioned earlier the soundtrack makes this movie with the opening title sequence making me skip back and listen to it again a few times before I’d even started watching it fully. I like the style it’s shot in, the nostalgic feeling it conveys and the vibrant colours. Some of it went over my head so if anyone has any explanation for Kish’s odd choice of make up I would greatly appreciate it. Not particularly horror but it has some great squishy, squelchy monsters and it does provide a few giggles.

Review by Sarah Budd

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