When a film’s title uses an expletive to warn you to stay out of a certain part of the house, it’s not messing around! Shudder’s latest original movie, Stay Out of the (F**king) Attic is a grotesquely fun blending of haunted house horror with brutal medical gore in what could easily become a camp classic.
The film begins with a trio of former convicts with a moving company literally called “Second Chance”. They’ve been hired to move everything out the first two floors of a large house, and the creepy, elderly German homeowner makes them quite the offer.
He tells them he will pay quadruple their rate if they have everything moved out by sunrise. Naturally, this offer is very enticing, and they decide to work through the night in order to achieve it. However, as the night goes on, things get weirder and weirder.
As they struggle with the mammoth of a task (and only three of them to do it), each room reveals another creepy secret. These include boxes of human teeth, evidence of Nazi war crimes and human experimentation that took place during the Holocaust.
As disturbed as they are, the movers know that they could really use the huge payday, so are hesitant to leave the house. It’s a semi-plausible explanation for why they stay. In films like these, there always needs to be a reason to keep the characters in the house. Sometimes it’s because they’re literally trapped in there.
This movie does a good job of laying out their motivation; they obviously could use the money and being ex-cons, it’s already a struggle to find work. But once they started finding Jeffrey Dahmer type stuff, most reasonable people would probably agree, it’s a good time to leave the house.
Second Life (Minor Spoilers)
To be fair, they do eventually become trapped there by the creepy homeowner, who is revealed to be Dr. Josef Mengele himself. For those unfamiliar with the history (or the 2009 movie The Unborn which also features him), Mengele was a scientist who performed horrific experiments on Jewish prisoners in concentration camps.
Given the gruesome nature of his “work”, he’s considered by many to be one of the most evil people to have ever lived. Here, he’s portrayed as the over the top villain, in a role that sort of works. Throughout the film, the writing and acting can be a bit campy, which is okay if that’s the tone the movie is going for.
But other scenes seem to take themselves more seriously. It does struggle a bit to find its true identity, but if you approach it as just a cheesy but fun dive into old school camp, you’ll probably enjoy it.
We also can’t fail to mention the myriad of brutal gore that’s mostly done with practical makeup. A lot of times, indie horror films are tempted to use CGI, but with their limited budget, it usually doesn’t look that great. So it’s very refreshing to see a movie go for practical makeup and gore, which also serves as a callback to vintage horror of decades past.
As previously mentioned, if you go in expecting the movie to take itself seriously and pull off drama, it’s not quite for you. But if you want something that’s hammy in a fun way, and filled with enough gruesome gore to make you cringe, it’s just the movie for you!
Stay Out of the (F**king) Attic is premiering exclusively on Shudder on Thursday March 11, 2021
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