Shocking New ‘Blackout’ Horror Flick Reinvents Terrifying Ancient Myths – You Won’t Believe It!

Charley, a hard-living artist and wandering contractor portrayed by Alex Hurt, has been struggling with early mornings lately. He often finds it difficult to remember the previous night’s happenings, and as the central character of Larry Fessenden’s horror classic, “Blackout,” he frequently wakes up semi-clothed in the wilderness, with his tattered attire clearly stained with blood.

Charley, already an emotional individual, is deeply troubled by the economic, environmental, and social conditions in his hometown. He is also mourning his father’s death and wrestling with the possibility that he might be a furry creature responsible for a string of nighttime killings. Such a predicament is not exactly conducive to battling feelings of impotence.

Longtime cult horror figure Fessenden, known for his work as a producer, director, writer, and actor, adeptly blends terrifying narratives with human suffering, leaning on low-budget aesthetics that prioritize raw intensity over polished, hollow frights. His latest work, “Blackout,” is a thoughtful and gritty continuation of his endeavors to contemporize iconic horror cinema figures, whether it’s reimagining vampires as symbols of urban love addiction in “Habit,” or revisiting the Frankenstein legend as a tale of PTSD in “Depraved” from 2019.

In his latest film, set in the tranquil upstate New York, Fessenden ventures into the werewolf domain first tread by Lon Chaney Jr. in the 1941 film “The Wolf Man.” Here, the monstrous curse not only affects Charley but also mirrors the divisions within America. While Charley may be the only one physically transforming under the full moon, his hometown, humorously named Talbot Falls (a nod to Chaney’s character), is a place where stirring up the depressed locals’ latent aggression isn’t hard, especially when they are unnerved by a sudden string of unexplained murders, one of which kicks off the movie with a chilling monster-perspective shot of an intimate couple in a field.

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A greedy real estate developer, Hammond (played by Marshall Bell), whose precious resort project is now under threat, directs the town’s suspicions toward a migrant contractor, Miguel (Rigo Garay), despite a lack of evidence linking him to the murders. Charley, whose compassionate former girlfriend Sharon (Addison Timlin) happens to be Hammond’s daughter, is determined to unmask Hammond and save the endangered soul of his beloved progressive town. However, he must also confront the uncomfortable truth of his own nightly mayhem. This is where Fessenden’s refreshingly thoughtful rendition, which is more dialogue-driven than gory (though not devoid of blood), brings out its unique moral gravitas about the beasts within us all.

Visually, Fessenden adds some vintage flair to Charley’s transformation scenes with snappy editing, jarring sounds, eerie practical effects, and Hurt’s physically intense, inebriated performance beneath a grotesque mask. In the remaining scenes, Hurt’s character exudes a tragically doomed aura, as if he’s bidding farewell to his normal self, caught in a tug-of-war between righteousness and guilt. A hauntingly poignant detail is the inclusion of Charley’s deceased attorney father, depicted in photographs among his belongings – played by Hurt’s real-life late father, William Hurt – which in Fessenden’s hands, feels almost like a spectral cameo.

Not all aspects of “Blackout’s” DIY ambiance work, and the tempo can sometimes drop to a sluggish trot as Fessenden’s script takes on too many elements (Charley’s tormented painting falls flat) and excess characters. However, some of these characters are respected indie veterans including James Le Gros, Barbara Crampton, Kevin Corrigan, John Speredakos, and Joe Swanberg. Despite these flaws, the eccentric sincerity of a seasoned horror maestro experimenting with timeless classics still amounts to a substantial midnight treat.

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