Ginger Nuts of Horror
The Hive is a mindbender sci-fi / horror film that takes you on a twisted journey of an infected amnesiac who slowly figures out just how screwed he and his friends are as his memories progressively return but are accompanied by memories that do not belong to him. These memories from strangers give him and the viewer insight into what is presently happening...
This is David Yarovesky’s first feature film directing and I must say he did an exceptional job. I watched an interview with him at Comic Con and one thing that stood out was that he made a commitment to himself and the film “to err on the side of ambition.” And indeed he did. This is a tremendously ambitious movie in almost every respect, especially for someone’s first foray into the big leagues. Huge amounts of FX, numerous settings besides the primary one, great musical score, and a complicated plot that, as one reviewer put it, is akin to “[Evil Dead meeting Memento]”. Yarovesky along with Will Honley wrote the script and it is fabulous on many levels. The characters are real and pop with life - their choices animated, refreshing and quite funny at times, their dialogue both authentic and self-aware. Genuinely well written and superbly acted, all while scaring us, disgusting us and pulling us into a sincere and organic romance story against the backdrop of meaningless sexual connections.
The story starts out waist deep in trouble. Adam, played by Gabriel Basso, wakes in a room in a summer camp infirmary, himself infected with some unknown pathogen, his clothes and face covered in some black liquid that he has obviously been throwing up but is also leaking from his eyes and ears along with some kind of boils in multiple places across his body. All the doors are boarded over, even the internal ones, and there are messages scrawled around the room. Front and center are big letters “REMEMBER” along with multiple drawings of a girl. There are warnings “DO NOT LET ANYONE IN NO MATTER WHAT” and the phrase “A RIDDLE WRAPPED IN A MYSTERY INSIDE AN ENIGMA.” One internal door has “MONSTER” written across one of the boards. There is more black vomit all over the room as well as evidence of some kind of struggle.
From here our journey with Adam begins. He is hit with one memory after another, going back to the beginning of camp and moving forward, remembering his friends Clark and Jess, and how he met Katie, the girl he has fallen for. In between regaining these memories he also experiences the random memories of other people from even decades back that tells us how the virus was developed and inadvertently released.
I hate to say that I can’t say much more with any specificity without revealing too much and ruining the ride but a big part of the fun is discovering the story along with Adam. What I can say is that you will enjoy moments that are truly hilarious, selfish, gross, tragic, noble and touching, all while being intellectually astute beneath the surface.
Some might say that Yarovesky was too ambitious but I would highly disagree. I think his ambition paid off and he knew exactly what he wanted his film to be and did an amazing job of bringing it to life and drawing the viewer into his web.
And a web it is. Because not only is this a viral sci-fi-esque idea with horrific consequences amidst a blossoming romance but it is an extremely intelligent social commentary / exploration of where our society is now after the explosion of social media and the redefining of what it means to be connected and how the vastness of our connectedness may be growing by leaps and bounds while the depth of those connections appear to be shrinking.
Yarovesky’s ideas found their spawning point in real phenomena recorded by scientists and doctors in which, inexplicably, certain people have been found to somehow suddenly possess memories that were quite impossible for them to have. He took this idea of shared experiences and combined it with thoughts on social media and other things to create this idea of a Hive mind, free of emotion, founded on connectedness and the ability to combine mental power and yet obliterating the individual within the collective, replacing deep emotional connection with a constant superficial cognitive awareness and attention that attempts to eradicate loneliness but at the cost of our humanity.
I highly recommend that you watch this movie and enjoy it for its creepiness, its wit and its gross out fun as well as its unique concept and execution. But then watch it again and pay attention to its social commentary and the questions it poses through what it presents to you on the screen and ask yourself what are the implications of what you see. I’m sure Yarovesky has opinions of what it all means, and the movie would seem to imply certain conclusions but at the same time it leaves room for exploration and makes you think. When a movie can entertain me and connect with me in a way that makes me ponder more deeply our humanity and the state of our society I have to give it props. I loved it.
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