ABC Film Challenge – Horror – G – Gnaw (2017) Movie Review

Director: Haylar Garcia

Writer: Jim Brennan, Haylar Garcia, Kathryn Gould (Screenplay)

Starring: Penelope Mitchell, Kyle Gass, Chris Johnson, Sally Kirkland, Graham Emmons, Susan Bellone, Erin Graham

Plot: Jennifer Conrad is a small-town girl starting over in the big city. Fleeing an abusive relationship, all she wants is a chance to begin again. But it is hard to start over when something is eating you while you sleep . . . one painful bite at a time.


Tagline – Eat…Prey…Love

Runtime: 1 Hour 37 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Verdict: Slow Build, Great Ending

Story: Gnaw starts when Jennifer Conrad (Mitchell) escapes from her abusive husband, to start a new life in a small apartment complex, where the handyman Terry (Gass) takes her under his wing, trying to make her feel welcome. When one of the neighbours spends hours crying at night before killing herself.

Jennifer must deal with her ex-husband Boyd (Johnson) finding her, just as she gets a pet turtle and more painfully an uncomfortable bite, which just seems to keep getting worse.

Thoughts on Gnaw

Characters – Jennifer has been struck in an abusive relationship which she has gotten the courage to leave behind her, this does leave her in a small apartment complex where she must try to start a new life. Things seem positive, when she bumps into an old friend who wants to help her get a job, only things start going badly after her neighbour’s suicide and bites which appear on her skin, with no explanation behind them. She must face her own past, deal with a problem before moving on with her own life. Terry Lumley is the friendly handyman that offers Jennifer all the support while staying the apartments. Boyd is the abusive ex-husband and police officers, making it harder for Jennifer to escape him, he has always put her down and wants to keep his control over her. Claudette runs the apartments she doesn’t get on with anybody, just wants to see money coming in.

PerformancesPenelope Mitchell in the leading role is the star of the show here, being able to show the pain she is running from and the hope she is fighting for. Kyle Gass is the next best thing in the film, where he does bring moments of laughter in his kind natured character. The rest of the cast do a solid job without being tested with what they have to do.

StoryThe story here follows an abuse victim that is trying to escape her own life’s pain only to find herself dealing with the latest problem which has come her way in the form of a bite. This story does manage to show us how difficult getting out of an abusive relationship can be for the victim, where starting a new life can take more time than people believe, this side of the story is the strongest part because it shows the real horrors of Jennifer’s life. When we get into the mystery about the bites, it does go on the routine way, until we learn the truth, which makes both sides of the story get connected nicely.

HorrorThe horror side of the film mixes the reality of being abused by a partner with the unknown of mysterious bites being found on the body and why they are there.

SettingsMost of the film remains in the hotel complex which is a place where people go to start life again.

Special EffectsWhen it comes to the effects we see what happens with the bites getting worse and the revel of what is behind it.


Scene of the Movie – The showdown in the room.

That Moment That Annoyed Me – The job interview.

Final Thoughts This is a nice slow build horror that tries to reflect the ideas of the horror being in real life rather than needing supernatural elements.

Overall: Horror that tests the reality of life.

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