Faceless Film Review

“A disoriented and frightened man awakens in a hospital room to discover he’s the recipient of a full face transplant. Plagued by weird flashbacks, no memory and no visitors, he is unprepared when they release him from the hospital. When a mysterious red- haired woman, Sophie, befriends him, life gets even weirder. Suddenly a hooded man stalks him, his friends abandon him, and strangers give him odd looks. Distraught he goes out drinking only to end up in an altercation with a man – who has no face! Now he must investigate what has happened and who is stalking him before it’s too late…”

Faceless poster

There are certain productions that become hard to explore from a critical standpoint. Reasons can vary, but in the worst case scenario the hardest productions to talk about are those that exist like a white noise, a production that does no bad but also fails to make any sort of lasting impression. Unfortunately, Faceless is one such film that just exists in a state of indifference, although one of notable wasted potential. As such, even where the production succeeds, it leaves the sentiment of ‘that was interesting, wish there was more’.

To give credit where due, the script poses an interesting mystery that will keep audiences guessing until the last moment. It also blurs the lines between delusions and reality quite well without feeling overtly gimmicky. The dialogue also feels sincere, giving a grounded sense of believability even when the narrative goes abstract. In addition, there are a few good scares and some nasty bits of face bashing violence that will make audiences squirm.

However, as competent of the script is, it never really turns things up; the scares and violence are too few and far between. In addition, the performances are bland with the proven Alex Essoe giving an awkward, stilted performance. Brendan Sexton III suffers a similar fate despite having a proven track record, although this is partially because of all the s*** on his face. Finally, the cinematography and audio design are muddied – for the most part looks dark, ugly and budgeted. Overall, the film just seems amateurish from a director who should be hitting his stride instead of going on the decline – Marcel Sarmiento’s Deadgirl still existing as a standout of genre filmmaking.

Faceless Film Still

Faceless, is difficult to pin down or really give overt praise. Certainly the film has its high points, an interesting mystery. However, the end product is mediocre in every sense – there is nothing the film does particularly well to stand out. The horror element in particular lacks after a frightful encounter with a skull faced monster, and a few nightmare sequences just kind of washing away in favor of dramatizing identity struggle. Ultimately, it just does not do enough to ‘wow’ the audience and likely to be a title that arrives next year to consequently be completely forgotten.

That said, it is still worth giving a shot – the material may resonate more with others and there are a few scenes of significant ultraviolence that can be appreciated with a film fest crowd. Unfortunately, for me at least, the film land right smack dab in the middle – I don’t regret watching it but will never revisit it.

 

We Watched Faceless as part of Grimmfest 2021

 

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