‘Stay Out of the Attic’ Is Getting Butchered — The Good, The Bad, And the Horrible
Stay Out of the Attic started streaming on Shudder as its original movie on March 11, 2021. A directorial debut of Jerren Lauder, the film had made its world premiere at the Atlanta Horror Film Festival on October 15, 2020.
The story follows a three-person moving company comprising all ex-convicts. As portrayed by Ryan Francis, the leader, Schillinger, formed the group with Carlos and Imani, played by Bryce Fernelius and Morgan Alexandria, respectively, hoping to turn over a new leaf.
But their future is doomed once they agree to move things from a Victorian house, belonging to Vern Miller, portrayed by The Outpost actor Michael Flynn.
A group of ex-cons-turned-movers are convinced by their creepy client to pull an all-nighter. As the night progresses, they uncover the horrors that exist inside his old Victorian mansion. Will they survive the night?
A Shudder Original—STAY OUT OF THE ATTIC is now streaming ðŸ’‰ pic.twitter.com/86qlbNTdfp — Shudder (@Shudder) March 11, 2021
In a suspicious turn of events, Miller asks them to pack everything up in a single evening, offers them pretty handsome bonuses, and, as the title demanded, forbids them from entering the attic. He also warns them not to touch the basement.
However, since the plotline needs to continue, the three ex-convicts do just the opposite. Their employer turns out to be a former Nazi still creating monsters from his experimental surgeries. And when Miller finds out that the three prison alumni broke his one rule, he has no choice but to make them his next victims.
While the movie tried its best to create horror for its audience with a Nazi touch, it couldn't impress many with its obvious plotline, character development, and, sadly, even acting.
One Element That Stood Out
The one and half an hour-long movie had one element that satisfied many of its disappointed critics and fans — gore. The bloodshed and gross-out moments in the film are pretty excessive, with multiple eye-gouging and wound-inflicting scenes.
Even in the films' trailer released by Shudder, the villain, Miller, can be seen injecting a huge metallic syringe in someone's eye. The Nazi malpractice experiments give a closer look at cringe-worthy gore, which can be credited as one of the good aspects of the typical horror movie.
But other than the blood and violence, the movie has nothing significant to offer. The plotline fully follows a typical horror story with unsurprising twists, turns and predictable moments.
Leslie Felperin wrote the film's review for Guardian in March 2021 and pointed how the movie lacked finesse or subtlety despite having four scriptwriters.
He also mentioned the movies' poor effect quality. He remarked it was shot under gloomy lights and did not recommend watching it on a laptop.
The CGI-less lackluster ghoulish experimental pet of sorts also received criticisms for its poor makeup and disguise.
A film critic Sean Price wrote in The Spool magazine how the only good special effect of a deformed conjoined twin failed after the taped mannequin on its back became obvious.
Character Development and Acting
Proper character development was a highly expected element of the movie, given that all characters had a diverse background and a story that could make them affable. But critics are positive that the film couldn't provide justice to all the roles.
Natalia Keogan, a film critic, described the script as "disjointed and incongruous" with no thematic ties to the shown events in March 2021.
In her film review for Paste Magazine, she dwelled on each character and pinpointed how Schillinger could have become a more interest-piquing role as a reformed neo-Nazi.
In her own words, the movie took a skin-deep approach, making him atone for his sins by cutting his inked swastika emblem from his chest.
In a nutshell, the movie's attempt to let the three ex-cons win a doomed battle against monstrous contemplations without providing details reduced the characters to dull caricatures.
Highlighting how marginalized people—like Black woman Imani and Latino single father Carlos—are incarcerated for far less than their white counterparts, then neglecting to explore those elements of their characters reads less as critique and more like mere set dressing.+
And while the character development wasn't apparently working, the acting helped little.
Felperin noted how the actors failed to express believable pain in the needed moment. Price also opined that the actors couldn't show genuine emotion and had a vacant look in their eyes.
The shortcomings of the movie became apparent through its negative ratings on Rotten Tomatoes. As of this time of writing, Stay Out of the Attic has 25% on Tomatometer with eight reviews.