I’ve seen too many slow burn creepers that over promise and under deliver to get excited when I read the words “Indie Body Horror” (I’m sure you have too) but Anna Zlokovic’s Appendage isn’t messing around. This cool ‘n’ kooky little flick leaves the start line at 100mph and delivers the goods. And by goods I of course mean a gross appendage that gains sentience and hollers “Boo, bitch!“.
Our lead, Hannah (Hadley Robinson), has been working herself to the bone to come up with new styles for her Fashion Designer dictator boss. She got an incredibly supportive best friend and a budding new relationship, but she’s lost in void of despair and self-doubt. As it turns out, stuffing down her true feeling until they boil over and explode has been a lifelong habit, but it’s never manifested into something like a goblin monster before.
The slimy, wrinkly jerk just appears one day, popping out of a birth mark on her torso. Like, imagine discovering a nasty looking rash one day only to see a whole ass face with teeth and creepy eyes staring back at you the next time you took a look. For anyone that remembers them, this little conjoined-sin looks like a late 80s Boglin puppet. Except this year’s model comes pre-loaded with sharp-tongue insults and biting criticism.
The biggest compliment I can give Appendage is that this movie f*cking moves. We don’t spend an hour waiting through mean boss monologue and relationship woes to see it’s bag full of horrors. That pint-sized bully shows up lickety-split and it isn’t long before it’s ripped himself off Hannah‘s body, looking for a life of its own. Thankfully she finds a support group of other people plagued by these evil growths (including Schitt’s Creek‘s Emily Hampshire) but keeping this bastard contained is a lot harder than she ever expected.
Adapted from Zlokovic’s short film of the same name, Appendage is wicked good fun. It’s got a playful, cartoonish quality like an R Rated Nickelodeon remake of Invasion of The Body Snatchers with tie-in opportunities for a line of creepy and cute parasitic twin toys. (Never gonna happened but what a world that would be.) The film doesn’t quite stick the landing in its third act but would still fit comfortably as a lowkey sister film to Frank Henenlotter’s Basket Case or James Wan’s Malignant.
Mutations as metaphor for mental health may not be something new if you also voraciously devour every new body horror but the humor and heart of Appendage is what sets it apart from every other overwrought, drawn-out entry in the subgenre. The practical creature effects are on point, it doesn’t waste it’s time the pacing department, and it’s got a stacked cast of fun side characters. Despite a few convenient beats here and there it’s a wicked good time about battling bad vibes and learning to live with yourself.
“Wicked good fun [with] a playful, cartoonish quality like an R Rated Nickelodeon”
Anna Zlokovic’s Appendage is an official selection of the 2023 Overlook Film Festival and will be available to stream on Hulu at some point in the near future, though no release date has yet been announced. Click HERE to follow our continued coverage of the festival, and be sure to tell us what you would do if you had a boglin growing out of your abdomen over on Twitter or in the Nightmare on Film Street Discord!
[Overlook 2023 Review] A Little Growth Becomes A Life-Sized Goblin in Body Horror Comedy APPENDAGE
Mutations as metaphor for mental health may not be something new if you also voraciously devour every new body horror but the humor and heart of Appendage is what sets it apart from every other overwrought, drawn-out entry in the subgenre. The practical creature effects are on point, it doesn't waste it's time the pacing department, and it's got a stacked cast of fun side characters.