Film Review – Nefarious (2019)

Marcus (Toby Winn-Davies) and Clive (Gregory A. Smith) are brothers, Clive has a learning disability but still works, enduring the ignorant daily abuse from his co-workers and Marcus looks after him, ensuring him that there is nothing to be upset about and to ignore them. Darren (Buck Braithwaite), Lou (Nadia Lamin) and Jo (Abbey Gillett) live an impoverished life and are under the thumb of a criminal kingpin leaving them not only very poor, but fearing for their lives on a daily basis. That is until one day when they find out that Clive and Marcus have won twenty thousand pounds on a lottery ticket, so they set out to devise a plan to get what they think they deserve. However, when they start to go ahead with their plan, things take a bad turn and the horrific events that follow give the burglars a lot more than they’d ever imagined.

Nefarious is a Kickstarter film from director Richard Rowntree (not that one Shaft fans) and besides its low budget, the film shows that it was never aiming for a high quality in the first place. It seems that this is a particular type of horror movie aimed at a particular type of audience and unfortunately it seems that besides the bar for the film not being raised very high, neither was the IQ for the intended audience. Told through flashbacks, the film goes about telling the story of the terrible atrocities that happened on the night of the attempted burglary via police interviews. From then on, the scenes are played out and as the audience gradually gets to know the cast, there is a slow realisation that the three would be criminals are very unlikeable. This is a common trait among horror films that want to build the tension to a climactic finale where the despicable cast get what’s coming to them, however the script does so in the cheapest and laziest ways possible.

Although I’m sure the audience for this film will be far from the prudish types, the amount of times the F word is used will test the patience of even the most hardened horror fan. Couple that with the constant use of a derogatory word beginning with R in order to describe Clive, and it’s not so much the characters that the audience will start to hate but rather the script as it talks down to them as it knows what low standards they have.

Then we come to Clive, once again an equally offensive character in his lazily written and cliched stereotyping of a person with a learning disability. The audience is meant to sympathise with Clive, but the character is like a cardboard cut out of what the film makers think a person with a learning disability is like, so any empathy for what could have been a fleshed-out character is thrown out the window.

Nefarious is the type of horror film that the audience is meant to endure so that they can proudly say they sat through the worst, most violent scenes and that they lived to tell the tale. The film also thinks it’s really edgy with its fast cut opening titles, scenes of drug use and using the F word for every other word in the script. If you are the kind of person that enjoys watching a slow burn horror film that builds up to a horrific finale then go ahead and watch Nefarious. However, I don’t think anyone will ever feel good for the experience.

Horror | UK, 2019 | 15 | 28th October 2019 | Ash Mountain Films | Dir.Richard Rowntree | Jon Vangdal Aamaas, Aaron Thomas Ward, Tony Sands, Toby Winn-Davies, Gregory A.Smith