Finding fear in the familiar: a review of Baghead

A silly name, a generic trailer and average reviews yet I was pleasantly surprised by the new horror release Baghead.

I was in the cinema with my friend when a classic, generic horror trailer came on; he asked what I thought it would be called and I jokingly guessed Baghead as it sounded stupid and to my astonishment, I was proved correct.

With a shocking 11 per cent Tomatometer score but a more average of 5.5 on IMDb, it seemed I was in for another uninspiring horror.

The film, adding to a short of the same name, follows a young woman, Iris Lark, who inherits a run-down pub from her father.

She goes on to discover the monster Baghead in the basement – a shape-shifting entity that will let you speak to dead loved ones for two minutes, but not without consequence.

My thoughts are below but be warned, there will be spoilers.

The opening is short yet intense – Owen Lark, her father and previous pub owner, tries to kill the creature with fire but burns himself to death – it wasn’t necessarily a scary opening but it does set the monster up as a threat. 

Following this Iris takes control of the pub and as she is down on her luck and needs somewhere to stay.

She is convinced after being offered a lot of money to allow a man called Neil to speak to his dead wife.

From here the film has Iris and her friend Katie trying to discover the past of Baghead and in the process talk to loved ones they have lost.

A cool and interesting premise with good moments of tension and the occasionally frightening jump scare, there are definitely more positives than some reviews would leave you to believe.

However …

The issue with many current horrors I have is also on show here – the monster just isn’t scary to look at.

A woman with a sack on her head after her initial crawl out from the wall is not something that strikes fear into my heart – even when the bag comes off towards the end, coupled with an admittedly good jump scare, the face of the entity isn’t scary.

Furthermore, the acting is as good as you would expect in a generic horror; it is just okay.

But there is a savior to this unassuming horror – an unexpected villain in the form of the character Neil.

At first, it seems he only wants to see his wife and your heart goes out to him – he is a desperate man spending a lot for the privilege of two minutes bringing her back.

But, as time passes it seems he is a horrific husband – drugging his wife which leads to her death because she wanted to leave him leading to her dying in a car crash and, at the climax of the film, killing Iris for the chance to have control of Baghead.

He is a convincing villain whom the audience wants to see get his comeuppance.

And this is why the ending is so satisfying – it isn’t necessarily scary but it is good to see Neil get what he deserved when Baghead, in the form of his wife, and Iris get revenge and kill him off.

If that was it I would’ve come out entertained, but then Baghead is finally able to leave her captive home in the basement to enact her revenge on the world that she has always wanted.

Seeing the creature depart into the world, ready to do that, and leaving it to the imagination of what her wrath will be is very unsettling.

Overall the acting was fine, the overall horror tropes were generic and Baghead is a comical name for a horror character but the premise was different and entertaining as was the general plot and writing and its short one-hour 35-minute run time helps it to not drag.

Overall – 6.5/10.

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