There’s a smart and clever premise at the core of “Appendage,” writer-director Anna Zlokovic‘s psychological body horror film (based on her 2021 short of the same name), but it feels like she stretches a mere outline of a story into a feature length project. As a result, the film loses a great deal of momentum quickly, but the thematic elements and old school horror puppetry make this one inventive and memorable.
Fashion designer Hannah (Hadley Robinson) is secretly struggling with a debilitating affliction of self-doubt. Despite working long hours, she’s constantly dumped on at the office. Her relationship with her best friend (Kausar Mohammed) is almost as rocky as the one with her mother, and things aren’t going so smoothly with her boyfriend, either. This causes Hannah’s insecurities to grow, with cancerous thoughts of negativity and low self esteem that she keeps buried. Her world is thrown into one of chaos when a mysterious, gruesome growth sprouts on her body. As her anxiety increases and her heath declines, Hannah’s intrusive thoughts manifest as a literal monster inside.
Zlokovic can’t quite find the idea tone for her film, as it’s a bit silly, yet not. It’s both earnest and goofy, which reminded me a lot of Netflix’s “Santa Clarita Diet” in both style and attitude. It’s a downright weird story with more thought put into the concept and message versus the entertainment factor, which makes for some very dull and drawn-out moments. The film feels at least half an hour too long.
“Appendage” is a clunky movie with a well-thought-out story, and Zlokovic’s success in writing and visualizing her metaphor to love and nurture your inner child as a horror film is commendable enough to warrant a mild recommendation for genre fans.
By: Louisa Moore