Written By: FR
Edited By: Grave Reviews Staff
Director: Elle Callahan
Writers: Elle Callahan (story), Michael Nader
Producer: Godmother Industries
Date Released: September 24, 2018
Isaac Jay as Evan
Jay Lee as Evan’s friend
Sam Marra as Bryan
Amaka Obiechie as Haley
Bevin Bru as Camille
Hunter Peterson as Nico
Ashleigh Morgan as Zoe
Rating = 2/5 Graves
***May contain some spoilers***
Isaac Jay plays Evan, who is visiting his older brother in the desert when a pretty girl named Zoe (Ashleigh Morgan) catches his eye and invites him to join her friends for the weekend. During a round of campfire ghost stories, unprepared for the night’s entertainment, Evan did a quick Internet search with his phone and finds an apparently random website devoted to the “Hisje.” Evan inadvertently conjures the shape-shifting demon Hisje. As Evan read the entry on the website, it is described as a “vengeful thing” that is evoked once its name is spoken five times. But the group did not find this believable. The curse awakens and torments the group.
There are several depictions of suicide, including self-mutilation that may make some viewers uncomfortable. However, the film is not particularly gory. There are, however, some gory scenes, but they are not extreme.
The Grave Review
Head Count (2018) is a good horror mystery with a simple but a good viable plot. It is not the usual slasher movie that you would expect with the twenty some old rowdy group with access to booze and drugs. It is more of a psychological thriller developing an eerie atmosphere of mystery and paranoia rather than settling for a mere gore showcase. The setting was in a desert is a welcome idea which builds an eerie sense of isolation and for the most part works well. There is some great cinematography that takes advantage of the scenery of the desert in which it was shot.
The screenplay is sharp but remains short on the details about the creepy intruder’s origins and intent. But it was cleverly executed to let the resulting actions speak more forcefully than any expository dialogue could.
The pace moves along nicely supporting a somewhat predictable storyline. Sound effects and music were well placed and effective creating an intense anticipation of something is going to happen. The eerie original score adds greatly to the charged electric atmosphere. Without sharing too much and ruining the effect, the film makers do an amazing job of using music to heighten the scare and keep the viewers on edge. It is safe to assume that the scariness of the film comes from the sound work.
The size of the ensemble cast is a bit too large for all the characters to really stand out, but Ashley Morghan and Isaac Jay are very good as the young leads of the film. Jay is earnest and has a nice gravity in his performance, and Morgan alternates from being radiant to sullen, and sells her role(s) well. That said, the two leads of the movie, Isaac Jay and Ashleigh Morgan, do have an admirable level of chemistry.
The acting, writing, and overall mood is there. However, the movie lacks clarity at some level producing an ineffective result. It would also help if the creature’s need to get its victims into groups of five. There are some good scenes as it mimics its victims to exploit its survivors, but there was much more that could have been done with the idea.
For the foregoing reasons, Grave Reviews gives Head Count (2018) 2 graves out of 5 graves.
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You may also like our review on the film, Happy Death Day 2U.