BARE BONES: SEPARATION (2021)

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Separation

SEPARATION (2021)

Jeff and Maggie Vahn (Rupert Friend and Mamie Gummer) are two comic book creators who are separated and in the middle of a messy divorce, that includes a custody battle for their daughter Jenny (Violet McGraw). Jeff is out of work and when Maggie is killed in a hit and run, he has to find a job fast to keep Jenny from her rich, custody seeking grandfather (Brian Cox). Just as things start to turn around for Jeff, it begins to seem like a dark entity might be stalking he and his daughter…a spirit that might be his angry, dead, ex-wife.

Film is by-the-numbers directed by William Brent Bell (WerThe Boy), from a script by Nick Amadeus and Josh Braun, and is far more run-of-the-mill family drama than supernatural horror. Bell does create a few spooky moments and has a nice visual eye, but the spooky scenes are very few and far between, till the climax, as we watch Jeff try to turn into an adult to prove he is capable of taking care of Jenny. Aside from a few effective but briefly seen specters, and a few nightmare scenes, there is nothing really all that scary here. When spooky stuff does happen, it is very cliché, such as jittery moving phantoms whose bones click and creak with each articulation and a child blamed for a ghost’s destructive hi-jinx. The end reveal is also no real surprise either and gives the feeling of being an afterthought. The cast are OK, with only little Violet McGraw and veteran Brian Cox really showing some screen presence, and Cam star Madeline Brewer appearing as the babysitter with feelings for Jeff, Samantha. Overall, the potential Bell showed in his first few flicks seems to have settled into a sadly familiar routine with his recent studio films, which, including this one, are kind of forgettable.

-MonsterZero NJ

2 and 1-2 star rating

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