The most ironic thing about Blumhouse’s Thriller, a surprise film on Netflix, is that it serves absolutely zero thrills. An unfortunate dud.
I’m all for all these Blumhouse horror surprises on Netflix. It adds a little excitement to the horror community. Unfortunately for Thriller, the latest Netflix surprise, it fails to thrill, and for the most part, is more non-horror than horror.
The premise has promise; a group of high schoolers in South Central Los Angeles play a prank on an outcast, Chauncey, who is highlighted as soft-natured, polite and willing to help. The prank to scare Chauncey results in a death and the teenagers act as eyewitnesses, putting him in jail for four years. When he is released, the teenagers are on the eve of homecoming, and a variety of murders begin. You know where this is going.
Thriller has little impact, if any. The moments where the slasher moments occur serve more of a reference to the genre than a state of genuine shock. Instead, Thriller spends too long on the side stories; plot points regarding their failing education, love triangles and the usual teenage drama make it feel like another movie. If you removed the horror/slasher elements and the torch holding to other films, you could argue that Thriller is about the pains of growing up as a black teenager in an undesirable community.
Thriller does set up the final girl Lisa (Jessica Allain), that’s clear when her moral compass comes into play when they originally played the prank, but her blandness, like the other characters, upends radically a potentially enjoyable Blumhouse horror, that appears to be a forgettable dud.
The director has gotten himself in the weeds of character development, rather than remind audiences what makes slasher films enjoyable. Thriller was supposed to be a surprise, a treat brought by the famed production company, but instead, the title serves subjective irony.
By the time Thriller gets through the coming-of-age story, the slasher elements are dead – becoming an add-on, rather than a core plot device. The latest Netflix surprise is a real shame.
Daniel Hart is the Co-Founder of Ready Steady Cut and has operated as Editor-in-Chief since 2017.