Z **** 2019 Canada Dir: Brandon Christiensen. 83 mins.
8-year-old Josh (Jett Klyne) has made a new imaginary friend, named, somewhat ominously, Z. The boy’s parents Elizabeth (Keegan Connor Tracy) and Kevin (Sean Rogerson) start to grow concerned when Josh starts to grow increasingly violent.
Although this film features a grief-stricken mother (which seems par for the course in horror over the last five years) the monster, Z, delivers some good scares, and the film has a unique way of telling stories about abusive and toxic relationships. Elizabeth and Kevin seem to have a marriage based entirely on lies and mistrust. Elizabeth’s sister can’t bring herself to face their dying mother—who is cold and withdrawn even on her deathbed. And the family is still trying to process the suicide of their father years earlier.
Much like BABADOOK isn’t really about the ghoul in the top hat, Z isn’t tearing this family apart—they’re doing that just fine on their own.
Review by Julia Lynch