Saturday 18 November 2023

REVIEW: The Puppetman (2023 Film) - Starring Alyson Gorske, Angel Prater, Kio Cyr and Cameron Wong

Review by Jon Donnis
"The Puppetman," directed by Brandon Christensen, is a 2023 horror film that brings an intriguing mix of psychological thriller and supernatural horror to the screen.

One of the film's strengths lies in its unique premise, revolving around Michal (Alyson Gorske), the daughter of a notorious killer who claims to be controlled by an evil force. As the mysterious deaths unfold around Michal, the audience is taken on a suspenseful journey to unravel the truth behind her father's claims and the curse of The Puppetman. The ambiguity surrounding the protagonist's intentions adds an element of curiosity that keeps viewers engaged.

The film's strong points include its decent execution as a horror film, featuring interesting ideas and some well-crafted set pieces. When the horror starts getting to full speed, the audience is treated to two brutal kill sequences that are impressively shot, injecting life into the narrative. The third act manages to make up for pacing issues, delivering a gripping conclusion.

The central idea of a supernatural presence taking hold of characters at any given time contributes to the frightening atmosphere, establishing a sense of unpredictability and ensuring that no one is ever truly safe. This element is used effectively to keep the tension high throughout the film.

However, "The Puppetman" is not without its flaws. Pacing issues, particularly in the first hour, may test the patience of some viewers, and performances at times fail to fully connect. The film briefly veers into the territory of a coming-of-age drama, which may feel somewhat disconnected from the horror elements.

The writing, while generally effective, can be a bit clunky at times, and one notable drawback is the lack of explanation surrounding the Puppetman Killer. While the film provides a primer on the events that set the story in motion, it falls short in offering a satisfactory explanation for why the core participants were drawn to the dark arts. More context on what rendered them susceptible to the evil force would have enhanced the narrative.

In conclusion, "The Puppetman" is a surprisingly decent horror film with interesting ideas, effective set pieces, and a gripping third act that compensates for its pacing issues. While it may not be flawless, the film successfully keeps the audience on edge with its supernatural elements and a chilling atmosphere.

I score The Puppetman a decent 7.5 out of 10.

Out Now
Watch for Free with a 7-day trial of Shudder
Also available on Apple TV -