The Faceless Man movie poster

The Faceless Man

In theaters August 28, 2020


103 minutes

Directed by:

Starring: , ,

Three years after Emily (Sophie Thurling) beats cancer she and several friends spend a holiday at a rental house. They’re all pretty garbage human beings so right off the bat you’re taking bets as to who’s going to die first. Good money is on Brad (Daniel Facciolo), who when compared to the American Exchange Rate, is 1.37 d-bags compared to one of ours. He’s insufferable.

Emily is also haunted by a faceless bloody creature with long black fingers that resembles the Pale Man in Pan’s Labyrinth (2006), and she’d have to be peripherally blind to not see him 90% of the time it’s behind her. It’s probably a metaphor for something deeper but this movie has gangsters and rednecks to malign so good luck figuring it out.

Nothing about this movie makes a lot of sense. The first 10 minutes is Emily arguing with her estranged father. You’d think that would set up the rest of the movie, but no, it just eats up ten minutes. Then the next ten minutes are Emily and her friends being mouthy and obnoxious in a rural town they plan on spending their holiday. Normally, this would be a good time to dig deeper into the hauntings or mystery, but not in The Faceless Man. There are drugs to take and townsfolk to antagonize and everyone is at each other’s throats. Throw in some mask-wearing weirdos and Emily’s talent for vomiting blood every few hours, and it’s the worst house party you’ve never been invited to.

There’s also B-story involving a stolen suitcase of cocaine and some foreign-sounding mobsters trying to get it back. In a madcap comedy about missing drugs and the hapless victims that manage to outsmart professional murderers, it would have been fine. It however does not belong in The Faceless Man.

At first, I thought maybe I don’t understand “Down Under” horror and humor, but I loved Killer Sofa (2019) out of New Zealand, and Relic (2020) was deeply unsettling. No, it’s just this movie, with its rambling dialogue, completely unlikeable characters – and how pray-tell, do you not like a cancer survivor – and the jumbled plots of 3 or 4 unrelated movies crammed into 1, and each of those movies has a ten minute solo in a movie full of disconnected solos.

There are a lot of drugs, and I mean “a lot” a lot so you initially can’t tell if everyone is just tripping balls or if “things” are actually being experienced. It’s both and neither, so mystery solved. The soundtrack is made up of loud, public domain classical riffs that are more at home in old Warner Brothers cartoons. We get it, there was no budget for music. The disdain by for rural folks is uncomfortably palpable and there are Russian (?) mobsters looking for a missing suitcase. It’s too much for a movie that’s not terribly well written, I don’t care how many awards it claims to have. These scenes of talking and talking and terrible quips are interminable, and while you may feel compelled to watch to the end, hoping it all gels – Let me save you some lost time – it. never. gels.

Normally I can find something redeemable in every movie I watch, whether it’s the cinematography, or an actor that steals scenes, or the ending which manages to make me smile. The Faceless Man offers none of that.

This movie tries very hard to be edgy and clever. Live, really very hard. Writer/director James Di Martino clearly has a love for certain movies, because we can see every single influence on the screen – the problem is they don’t belong in this movie. The Faceless Man wants to be a comedy and horror and action film, but because it tries to be all of these, it’s none of them. The humor is forced, the horror is pedestrian, and the action is too stereotypical comical to be taken seriously. This movie at most should be 25 minutes, but it’s 103 minutes and that’s a lot of fast-forwarding past the talky bits. There’s also a post-credit scene, but if you’ve made it that far, I supposed you deserve to watch it

The Faceless Man (2019) is unrated, but it would likely get an MPAA rating of R due to the amount of blood, drug use, rape, gunplay, dismemberment, garroting, and eye-gouging.

The Faceless Man is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: MontiLee Stormer
MontiLee Stormer is a writer of horror, dark and urban fantasy. She’s also is a troublemaker, concocting acts of mayhem and despair for her own selfish pleasure. An avid movie watcher, she prefers horror but will see just about anything if you're buying. Poltergeist (1982) is her favorite movie and she actively hates The Shining (1980) due to its racism, misogyny, the butchering of the source material. She could host a TEDtalk on this single subject. Writing about herself in the third person is just a bonus.

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