Director/ Writer: James Cullen Bressack
Cast: Ciara Hanna, Emily O'Brien, Jackie Moore, Russell Geoffrey Banks, Jack Prinya, Sohanna Begana
Year: 2014 (Released 2015)
Three beautiful girls go to Thailand to spend the summer there and help children, as well. One night they go out and meet three men, who earlier were stalking them. They stupidly take them to the place they are staying at and party with them. Though one of them, gorgeous brunette Julia (Emily O'Brien), who already has a boyfriend back in the States, does so reluctantly. Unfortunately this only to be seemingly being drugged by these scummy guys. After some vivid and bloody nightmares where they have tortured and killed said men, they wake up discover they have been robbed. Aside from stealing their personal artifacts, also missing is a life-size gold statue of a child that they found earlier in the house that they are staying at. Soon things begin to get real fucking creepy, and they learn that the statue contained the soul of a vengeance seeking child. They must find a way to survive and stop her, but does this way even exist?
According to the dictionary the word "pernicious" means "having a harmful effect, especially in a gradual or subtle way". It's a fitting title for the movie's plot then, and thankfully the only effect that Pernicious has is a mostly entertaining one. It moves at a fast paced and is thankfully never boring or stops long enough for you to notice plot holes.
In fact, for the most part it's just a gory good time to be had. Writer/ director James Cullen Bressack crafts a movie that may not win awards for originality but it aims to be a good time and it certainly succeeds at that. While, it lifts a lot off of from films like The Grudge it adds lots of gore to make-up for its' lack of originality. I don't want this to come off as me shitting on the movie, thought. It's hard to be original these days, so when ripping off make sure you at least make it a fun experience, like this movie is. The blood and guts add to the movie by making you wince and certainly stand as a contrast to the other more restrained Asian inspired female ghost flicks.
The FX are also quite well done, and they include stabbings, tongue ripping, eyeball gouging, throat slashing, and more. Bressack even manages to make a couple, though sadly not more, creepy shots of the girls seeing the evil, little ghost child. While, these scenes heavily rip-off the aforementioned type of horror films, it is done with at least with talent and a certain level of terror.
The real highlight for me, though, was our three lead stars: Ciara Hanna, Emily O'Brien, and Jackie Moore. All three girls are absolutely gorgeous!! I think I fell in love with them multiple times while watching the movie. But, they are not just pretty faces. All three are quite good in their roles and are believable. What is most important is that their characters are very likable. A film like this would have fallen apart had Bressack not written girls you cared about. Had they been mean, bitchy girls, you would have cheered their deaths and/ or not cared about their ordeal. Back by the talented cast, they pull and draw you in.
Pernicious is a fast and fun movie, even if derivative. The excellent gore and beautiful, talented cast keep your eyes glued to the screen. While, their strong acting ability and solid directing and quick pace keep you from dwelling too long on it's faults. Sure, some stuff will make you scratch your head (showering in bra and panties? Why?), but overall I was left with a pleasant feeling. So, go over to NetFlix and check it out, you'll be glad that you did.
*** out of ****