The Frankenstein film and story is a classic monster movie from Mary Shelley. Once Depraved begins to unfurl its own interpretation of that tale, references to Frankenstein’s monster shine like skin under stitches of this modern monster. Not everyone likes Larry Fessenden, but I do.
In Larry Fessenden’s universe; gone is the hideous monster cast out into the wide world. Instead, a man bearing a resemblance to Iggy Pop is mashed up and sewn together. But is Fessenden’s creation any less lonely?
The original creature with neck bolts hides in the shadows. In Shelley’s story, he is taught civilities by eavesdropping on villagers. He is unable to be a part of the very world he was brought into and cast aside by his own creator.
In Fessenden’s’ vision, he listens to classical music in order to pop his synapses back into gear. The experiment is patched up and, drugged with special medicines to ensure things run smoothly. The people in this universe are less frightened of this modern version of Fransteins monster. Given the love and care he requires, surely a different outcome is likely.
Henry, a surgical qualified Dr. Frankenstein, was once an army soldier trying desperately to save and repair fallen soldiers. He and his best friend Polidori, work together to make their project a success. The monikers assigned for Henry and Polidori, are chosen purposefully and link in to connect with the original text. All this proves just how exciting Fessenden’s latest production is.
The Jekyll and Hyde duo of Henry and Polidori call their project— Adam. Similarly, fans of the origin story won’t overlook the dynamic between these two.
Once Adam begins to resemble something very human, Polidori takes him to look at art in a museum. After that, they go on a bender, and to a local strip club. It’s here you begin to wonder who has Adam’s best interests at heart. This is the same night Adam discovers what the world has to offer.
Much of Depraved’s horror is subtext. Despite the film’s graphic poster art and morbid trailer, there is little for gorehounds and splatter lovers to be excited about. Surprisingly, this takes nothing away from the overall film. Fessenden’s newest film which he wrote, directed and produced is a dramatic thriller and has much to offer. It also proves that this cinema all-rounder does his best work when pulling all the strings.
The runtime caps at 114 minutes, however, I could have happily watched more of this story.
Characters drive the narrative in turns. First, we meet Alex as he goes about his life. It’s his brain that gets implanted into who we later meet— Adam. The vehicle for Adam is worked by Alex Breaux and he takes the spotlight in almost every scene.
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Additional characters are crafted, restrained and engaging. Adam becomes a victim of his own making, upbringing, and circumstances and everything you expect to eventuate does. That’s not a slight at all, Depraved was the opposite of what I was expecting from this film. In other words, I thought this would be a gothic hammer film.
My only gripe was the final climax. It was slightly underwhelming compared to the rest of the production. Fortunately, an additional ‘after’ epilogue makes up for it.
Depraved is a finely tuned, beautifully crafted and extensively detailed modernization of a tale any fan of dark cinema will love.
Subsequently, even if you’re not a horror fan, don’t shy away from this one just because it looks the way it does. Sometimes the outside shell hides an intrinsic homage to monster movies and of stories about human nature we can all relate to.
I give Depraved
4.75 Larry Fessenden’s auteur magical prowesses out of 5
Finally, Depraved released 13th September 2019 in theatres. In the USA it’s on Vudu, Apple and Microsoft.