I have a strange passion for trash cinema and ‘so bad-it’s good’ movies. Toss me a copy of Sharknado or a Troma film any day of the week and I’ll gladly watch it purely for the shits/giggles.
But Pernicious is neither of those things. It takes itself far too seriously and is too polished to be classed as trash cinema; and it isn’t good. It’s just bad.
The main gist is that three girls head over to Thailand for work, but have a week or so to relax before things get boring. They stay in a house that harbors a golden statue of a little girl in it’s attic and when it goes missing, the girls start having violent dreams and visits from said statue.
It even sounds bad on paper and I assure you it’s worse on film. Pernicious’ narrative becomes unnecessarily complicated as the film progresses, at times even struggling to keep up with the myriad plot points it raises. You’ll get it, but you won’t care because nothing about amulets and blood oaths and vengeful adolescents is remotely interesting.
The acting on display here is woeful. Ciara Hanna, Emiliy O’Brien, Jackie Moore try their best I suppose but it doesn’t help that they’re carried by some atrocious dialogue. At one point when one of the girls boyfriends is explaining something important over a video call the laptop cuts out just before he divulges some valuable information. One of the girls then explains the cliche, in case we had trouble with it. It was laugh out loud funny; a fleeting moment of entertainment.
And we don’t just get one cliche. Oh no, they’re served up on a platter here. Everything from your garden variety jump scare to the old “nothing in that bathroom mirror before she opened it but when she closes it someone is standing there” trick. Gee, It’s all so comforting and unimaginative that it almost warrants a watch. But seriously, don’t.
There exists a couple of scenes of overly graphic violence that come very much out of left field. They would be the only elements of Pernicious that I would speak positively of (because of make-up) if it weren’t for how pathetically gratuitous they are – to the point where even the explanation for them are unconvincing. I love gore, but when scenes lack tension and a least an attempt of exposition, I’m just embarrassed by it.
Put bluntly, Pernicious has emerged as one of the worst movies I have ever had the displeasure of seeing. It isn’t tongue in cheek or self-deprecating or satirical. It wants you to invest in it and it’s that lack of self awareness that compounds its already obnoxious traits.
For the record, those are boring, insipid and irredeemable.
Review Score: HALF A STAR (OUT OF FIVE)
Pernicious is available now on VOD (Video on Demand)