Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Shook, on Shudder

It turns out Instagrammers are about as vain and shallow as you thought. They might even be as shallow as Boomers think. Mia and her friends will prove it, to a fatal extent in director-screenwriter Jennifer Harrington’s Shook, which premieres tomorrow on Shudder.

There is a dog-killer on loose, who just escalated to human-owners. The first two-legged victim was one of Mia’s fellow makeup influencers. In fact, her death means Mia probably ascends to numero uno. However, she wants to look properly mournful, to stay “on-brand,” so instead of live-streaming another party with her selfish pals, she finally agrees to housesit for her sister, Nicole. The two siblings have a rather tense relationship. Nicole feels that Mia bailed on her during their mother’s long illness and demise. Now, Nicole is facing a similar diagnosis, whereas Mia is a picture of health.

Apparently, someone else knows about their family’s dirty laundry and he is out to extract retribution on Mia, Punisher-style, through her self-centered friends. To make things even more interesting, he will call Mia using the old
Scream-style voice modulator, cruelly toying with her and forcing her to make a series of “Sophie’s Choices.”

In many respects, the first two acts of
Shook are a lot like When a Stranger Calls, updated with social media and live streams. Yet, Harrington springs a really twisted twist on viewers down the stretch. It gets pretty stone-cold and brutally personal, in an impressive way. Harrington also executes the retro-slasher chills and kills really well.

Daisye Tutor makes a believable “final girl,” finally getting serious when it really counts. Emily Goss is also fiercely memorable as unfortunate Nicole. Plus, there is some nice work from canine thesp “Chico.” By the way, it is probably worth noting
Shook carries the Humane Society production seal, so don’t worry about whatever you might see.

Despite the ultra-now social media elements,
Shook is definitely an old school killer-in-the-house horror show, but it works on that level. At times, it feels Blumhouse-y, but that’s not a bad thing. Recommended for fans who want some un-post-horror red meat, Shook starts streaming tomorrow (2/18), on Shudder.