Next to zombies, the “body-snatcher” sub genre of horror is one of my most guilty of pleasures. Generally, I can be entertained by even poorly made examples of this type of film making. In my mind, two flicks within the past several years have pretty much set the benchmark for the modern parasitic romp, those being “Splinter”, and “Alien Raiders”. The advertising for Anchor Bay’s “Growth” led me to believe that I would be in for a treat for this one. Based on their explanation, and several outside reviews, it seemed right up my alley. Unfortunately, this was not the case.
“Growth” never really establishes what it’s actually about. We follow a family as they travel to a remote island to sell off a piece of real estate that they’ve received in the will of a dead relative. Meanwhile, some of the most bland looking CGI parasites are creeping around in the woods, ready to take a host. Apparently, some years ago a scientist was doing some sort of experimentation with parasites. First, to engineer the worlds most perfect pearls, and next to create the perfect human. Of course, things didn’t go as planned, and an outbreak ensued, leaving the townsfolk to forever defend themselves from the creatures, killing any one of them that becomes infected.
This is one of the slowest burning body-snatchers style film that I’ve ever seen. As I staggered through to the one hour mark, little to nothing had actually happen, nor had characters been busy developing. We’re never really formally introduced to any one character, nor are we given any reason to either sympathize, identify with , or learn anything from any of them. Most of what some would consider “action” doesn’t take place until the final act, and even then, it’s fairly boring, and leads to an anti-climactic ending.
A film that Gorezone magazine called “Grim, bloody, and unsettling” were none of the three. Aside from a few scenes that last fractions of a second, it was virtually bloodless. There is one scene that felt tacked on just to draw the gore fans in, but it’s definitely not enough to save the rest of the movie.
There was nothing particularly wrong with the performances, but the script was as weak as it could be. Some of the dialog felt like it was lifted straight from “General Hospital”.
Generally, I love slow burning films. Ti West’s “House of the Devil” is one of my all time favorites, and 9.9/10 percent of that film is strictly build up. If handled well, you can smack the audience in the face with the shovel in the final act, and have them feel it that much more. That is, if you spent the first hour plus of your film developing characters for us to care about, or at least creating a mood. “Growth” does neither. It may be better than whatever is currently running on the SyFy channel, but surely there are better films that you could waste your time with. “Growth” gets a 4/10, and an award for the strangest use of the Grandfather from “Grounded For Life”.