Tuesday, April 02, 2024

Baghead, on Shudder

Even Jon Taffer from Bar Rescue could not breathe life into the Queen’s Head, a British pub in Berlin. The industrial neighborhood is not great, but the witch in the basement is a tough nut to crack. When Iris Lark inherited the bar from her estranged father Owen, she became the evil entity’s keeper, whether she likes it or not, in Alberto Corredor’s Baghead, which premieres Friday on Shudder.

It has been decades since the Queen’s Head served a draft, but it is not going anywhere. Owen Lark tried to burn it down, but the ancient woman’s infernal power protected it. Unwisely, Lark put her name on the deed, making herself the eternal witch’s new keeper.

At first, she tries to exploit the bag-hooded woman’s power for financial benefit, just as her father once did, until he got too freaked out by her power. After ingesting a personal item, she/it can bring anyone back from the dead. You just pull off the bag and there is your favorite uncle, or whoever. However, after two minutes, she takes control over the beloved loved one’s features, to spew a hateful torrent of tormenting taunts.

Of course, the more a keeper pokes the witch, the more she gets in their heads. She is already digging her hooks into Lark, much to the alarm of her bossy friend, Katie. Yet, they keep letting the wealthy but sketchy Neil dial-up his late wife, even though it never ends well.

is a terrible title for a cool gothic/demonic horror film. First and foremost, Peter Mullan is spectacularly crusty and vinegary as old man Lark. Sure, he dies at the beginning, but Mullan is always so interesting on-screen, you know they will have to bring him back.

Ned Dennehy is also massively creepy as the unnamed solicitor, who mysteriously appears to facilitate the transfer of title. Never trust a lawyer, especially when they have no name. Freya Allan is sufficiently freaked out as Lark, while Jeremy Irvine is impressively weird and unsettling as Neil, who is just off. Although it is a relatively small role, Saffron Burrows covers a heck of a lot of ground as Neil’s unnaturally summoned wife, Catherine. Plus, Anne Muller does some great Doug Jones-ish kind of work as the sinister Baghead.

The interior of the Queen’s Head is spooky as heck and the design and make-up of baghead are appropriately ominous. “Baghead” sounds like a sleazy slasher, but it is a quality genre production, loaded with atmospheric sets and trappings. Highly recommended for horror fans,
Baghead starts streaming Friday (4/5) on Shudder.