This review contains spoilers for Hulu’s The Body.
Into the Dark has an interesting premise: a 12-month horror anthology series for every holiday. The Body is the Halloween installment, making its premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival and set to release on Hulu October 5. While an interesting concept, this first glimpse into the new Blumhouse production doesn’t quite hit the mark.
An assassin faces a predicament: he’s just killed someone and he needs to get rid of the body. Since it’s Halloween, carrying around a dead body looks more like a prop than anything else — this isn’t the predicament. He runs into a group of 20-somethings intent on taking him to their friend’s party because his “costume” is just so cool. He goes, promising one drink if he could borrow the car keys off them later. At the party, Wilkes (Tom Bateman) meets Maggie (Rebecca Rittenhouse), a woman he seems to instantly connect with. She too isn’t phased by his occupation once it’s exposed to her and the rest of the party goers that dragged him in there in the first place. But Maggie isn’t his predicament either. It’s Dorthy (Aurora Perrineau), Alan (David Hull), Jack (Ray Santiago), and Nick (Harvey Guillen). Once Wilkes is exposed as an assassin, the others steal the body in an attempt to turn it into the police. It’s a cat and mouse chase from there.
The Body is based off a short of the same name, also written and directed by Paul Davis and Paul Fischer. In this feature length installment, the events feel a bit more fantastical and absurd. Wilkes spends a lot of the time spouting off philosophical musings about death that just makes him seem pretentious rather than sophisticated. What’s worse is that the philosophy awkwardly exists alongside the horror and the comedy instead of blending together. There are fantastic beats of comedy here: Perrineau in particular gets some really great moments, as well as Hull. But once the gore kicked in, it seemed we were in an all together different movie. Dorthy, Alan, Jack, and Nick make some really dumb decisions, but only after they attempted to do the right thing. I actually found their characters to be quite entertaining and more well-rounded than their slasher movie counterparts, which is a shame because their fates don’t match up with their established personalities.
Instead, the film is mostly concerned about Maggie. They’re reaching for the feminist angle, but there’s not enough time spent with Maggie and very little reason given for why she wants to team up with Wilkes. She’s a woman and she’s angry. I believe it’s implied she’s angry for the reasons women are angry nowadays: men. Or maybe it’s her lot in life — she’s an assistant to Jack and not much else. The point is, I don’t know because while The Body wants us to cheer for Maggie, it’s her friends I thought deserved a better ending.
There’s more to come, however. After The Body premieres on Hulu October 5, watch out for more Into the Dark features to be released once a month for 12 months. It’s 12 months of horror this October. Possibly some comedy as well. Let’s just hope they blend well down the line.