The Puppetman Review: A Muddled Dance of Horror and Clichés

Brandon Christensen‘s The Puppetman attempts to unravel the twisted tale of a convicted killer and his alleged possession by an evil force, but it fumbles the opportunity, ultimately succumbing to clichés and a muddled narrative. While the premise holds promise, the film struggles to capitalize on its potential, resulting in a frustrating and underwhelming viewing experience. Read on for my The Puppetman review.

The Good Parts Of This The Puppetman Review:

The Puppetman (2023).The Puppetman revolves around Michal, portrayed by Alyson Gorske, who begins to question her father’s claims of possession as those around her meet grisly fates. The film’s central premise of breaking a curse could have been a refreshing take on the horror genre, but the execution falls short. One of the film’s biggest pitfalls lies in its inability to establish a consistent tone. At times, it attempts to be a psychological thriller, delving into Michal’s psyche as she grapples with her father’s dark legacy. However, it frequently descends into standard slasher territory, relying on gratuitous violence and jump scares to elicit fear, ultimately diluting the impact of the narrative.

The performances in The Puppetman are a mixed bag. Alyson Gorske as Michal delivers a commendable performance, portraying her character’s fear and desperation effectively. Unfortunately, the supporting cast fails to leave a lasting impression. The characters, portrayed by Caryn Richman, Anna Telfer, Jayson Therrien, and Zachary Le Vey, feel one-dimensional, lacking depth and complexity. This lack of character development makes it challenging for the audience to empathize with their plight, diminishing the emotional stakes of the story.

The film’s direction, helmed by Brandon Christensen, showcases moments of visual flair, particularly in the depiction of the gruesome deaths. However, these moments are overshadowed by a lack of cohesion in the storytelling. The pacing is erratic, lurching from slow-burning tension to frenetic, confusing action sequences. The cinematography, while occasionally striking, is marred by inconsistent lighting and awkward framing, detracting from the overall visual experience.

The Bad Within This Puppetman Review:

The script, co-written by Christensen alongside Ryan Christensen and Matt Manjourides, suffers from predictability and a reliance on horror clichés. The dialogue often feels forced and unnatural, failing to establish a genuine connection between the characters. The attempts at psychological horror are hampered by an overreliance on shock value, undermining the film’s potential for genuine psychological terror. The narrative’s attempt to explore the themes of inherited evil and redemption feels superficial, lacking the depth needed to resonate with the audience on a meaningful level.

The Puppetman (2023).

Despite its shortcomings, The Puppetman does manage to generate sporadic moments of suspense, thanks in part to the film’s atmospheric soundtrack. The eerie score contributes to the film’s tense moments, enhancing the sense of dread during certain scenes. However, these instances of effective tension are few and far between, leaving the audience yearning for a more consistent and immersive horror experience.

Overall Impression:

The Puppetman review focuses on its struggle to rise above the conventions of the horror genre, succumbing to clichés and a disjointed narrative. While Alyson Gorske delivers a compelling performance as the tormented Michal, the film’s lacklustre supporting cast and predictable storyline hinder its potential. With a more refined script and focused direction, The Puppetman could have been a chilling exploration of the darkness within, but instead, it falls into the abyss of forgettable horror films, failing to leave a lasting impression on its audience.

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The Puppetman Review: A Muddled Dance of Horror and Clichés
  • Acting - 7/10
  • Cinematography/Visual Effects - 6/10
  • Plot/Screenplay - 4/10
  • Setting/Theme - 5/10
  • Watchability - 6/10
  • Rewatchability - 3/10
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About Caillou Pettis

Caillou Pettis is a professional film critic and journalist as well as the author of While You Sleep, The Inspiring World of Horror: The Movies That Influenced Generations, and co-author of Out of Time: True Paranormal Encounters. He has been writing in the entertainment industry for over seven and a half years professionally. Throughout the years, he has written articles for publications including Gold Derby, Exclaim!, CBR, Awards Radar, Awards Watch, Flickering Myth, BRWC, Starburst Magazine, Punch Drunk Critics, Mediaversity Reviews, Vinyl Chapters, Northern Transmissions, and Beats Per Minute.