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ODDITY [Chicago Critics Festival 2024]

Written By:

Anthony Oleszkiewicz
Oddity

A twisty horror movie from Shudder, Oddity‘s safe but whimsical charms start with its premise. A blind antique dealer, equipped with a strange wooden art piece and divining gifts, makes an unexpected visit after her twin sister’s mysterious death. Already the film is pregnant with promise without mentioning its weird old house, bits of found footage camerawork, or insane asylum packed with villainy. Those many levels of setup compose Oddity‘s biggest strength; it can scare you from multiple angles, with overlapping ideas weaving into a script of strange turns and invigorating thrills. It’s hard to know what will happen next when the villains aren’t necessarily the most terrifying thing in the room. Each twist introduces a new source of fear to keep track of, leaving viewers always on edge as the story unfolds.

With a story full of predictable archetypes, it’s odd (ha!) that the film works as well as it does. But some impactful filmmaking moments and a plethora of things to be afraid of, even if they are clichés, make Oddity a worthwhile watch, whether you know the tropes or not. If you’re already a horror fan who has seen enough glass eyes, annoying girlfriends, and mysterious antique dealers for a lifetime, there’s still the ghostly spirit, mannequin-masked killer, and third-act cannibal to make you squirm. Variety is the movie’s spice. Although it is held back from being a genre-defining work by stuffy performances and a so-so camera, Oddity is a fresh, low-brow horror experience that will keep you guessing where the next scare is going to come from.

stars

Anthony Oleszkiewicz

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