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‘FACELESS AFTER DARK’ Review: a chilling exploration of the psychosocial impact of our modern media ecosystem

Jenna Kanell, the lead actor and co-writer, first gained prominence through her roles in the horror films Terrifier and its gory sequel Terrifier 2, which centered on a killer clown. Now, with Faceless After Dark, Kanell and co-writer Todd Jacobs (Dead by Midnight (Y2Kill)) have cleverly leveraged her previous work to explore the complexities of typecasting and the constant scrutiny faced by public figures in a meta-narrative. 

Bowie is left alone at home after her more successful TV actress girlfriend Jessica (Danielle Lyn) departs for a film shoot – she has just landed a role in a superhero movie. Though the couple’s on-screen time is limited, their dynamic is subtly layered with palpable tension, as Jessica effortlessly compartmentalizes her private and public personas – a stark contrast to the suspiciously increasingly unwell Bowie; let’s just say Bowie’s drunken antics merely scratch the surface of the profound emotional turmoil she is grappling with.

Bowie’s night takes a terrifying turn when she wakes from a drunken haze to find an intruder in her home. Arming herself with a prop machete from her past as a clown killer, she confronts the masked menace, setting off a tense, suspenseful sequence. Without giving away too many spoilers, the film delivers a delicious twist at the midway point transforming into a deeper more artistic narrative that delves into dark, troubling places and whilst we spend a good portion of time rooting for Bowie, where does one draw the line?

Kanell’s electric and vital performance anchors this nuanced social commentary, which explores the complex issues of toxic fandom and parasocial relationships. Through Kanell’s dynamic portrayal, the film examines the profound impact of obsessive fan behavior on both individuals and society. The exploration of mental health struggles adds another layer of complexity to the narrative, shedding light on the often-overlooked consequences of toxic online communities.

This highly thought-provoking film ultimately challenges viewers to reflect on their own relationships with the media-saturated world around them, sparking vital conversations about the increasingly blurred line between admiration and unhealthy obsession.

VERDICT:

Faceless After Dark is in Select Theaters and on Digital Platforms May 17th.

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