Urge (2016)

(Video on-Demand, September 2016) I’d like to report that Urge is interesting at least in part, but sadly it’s a fractured film that’s not very good, even though the way it’s unpleasant in its first half is not the way it’s unpleasant in its second half. Congratulations are probably in order for a film that finds two ways to be bad rather than a single one, but that’s not exactly the kind of achievement that wins awards. Initially, Urge looks like a weekend among insufferable rich kids, taking over a beach house in order to go wild with unbridled excesses. Things get slightly more interesting during the second act, when a mysterious man (Pierce Brosnan, the sole saving grace of the film for the three scenes in which he appears) offers our character a hit of a new kind of drug. If you’ve seen any American movie about young people and drugs over the past three decades, you can guess what happens next: A wild night of fun, followed by a sobering return to reality. You can also guess what happens then: another night, another hit. But chances are that you will be only half-able to predict what happens then. Oh, it’s simple enough to figure out that the second hit won’t be as good. It’s not much of a stretch to anticipate that the drug-addled protagonist turn against each other in their stupor. But to go all the way from that starting point to a zombie invasion goes beyond any reasonable expectation, and the way this is handled (with lightbulb electrocutions, heads exploding under dropped weights and other ludicrous atrocities I’m not sure I want to remember) is ridiculous to the point of being exasperating. It really doesn’t help that there isn’t a likable character in the entire cast, or that whatever setup establishing the characters is ditched in favour of shocking gore. Even if Pierce Brosnan plays the devil offering hell-on-earth through ecstasy pills: who cares? If you want a zombie film, do a zombie film … but try to do that as a first act establishing plot device rather than a dull conclusion leading straight to something we’ve seen often enough already. There’s two minutes of generic zombies-in-a-supermarket stuff after the credits, but they really don’t add anything.

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