Stitch, the horror/drama and not the Disney movie (unless Bob Iger took a huge sidestep), was the first full-length feature of Ajai (Ajaya Kumar Mathai) featuring everyone’s favorite angsty future-savior, Edward Furlong. Stitch is part horror and part thought piece, with a crapton of ambition on a starving artist’s budget.

To be fair and honest, I cold-watched this movie. It started playing after the movie I was watching ended and I thought, “Huh, this is a weird-looking movie from the early 2000’s. Let’s see where this goes.”

It’s from 2013. Oof, okay. Yes, the visual effects are very dated for that recent. It’s a step above the Sci-Fi Channel of yore and Xenia, but around-abouts Buffy the Vampire Slayer’s first season with CGI. 

However, after looking at reviews from other websites, I don’t think the hate it gets is entirely fair. There are pretty redeemable points in the movie that make it an interesting watch.

So, let’s get down into the meat of it. Trigger warning: kid gets killed. 

The Plot:

The grieving parents of a young girl arrive in the middle of the desert to a house that they’ve rented with two friends to try to confront their loss. One of their friends facilitates this as a ritual, calling upon Death itself, so that they can confront and accept their daughter’s passing. 

However, after the ritual, strange things begin to happen and a cataclysmic force keeps them inside the house while Death stalks them, cutting and stitching pieces of their bodies when they’re most vulnerable. While trapped, secrets begin to unravel and memories of their daughter begin to resurface. Maybe everything was not as simple and honest as it all seemed…

Thoughts:

The setting and effects were visually pretty interesting (apart from the lightning world). The makeup was beautifully done, I can’t stress that enough. The stitches were really precise and painful-looking. 

The acting and writing was mostly pretty good. Act one was a bit stilted, but it was very enjoyable as soon as everything went to hell. Hint: everyone is an asshole and they did a really good job at portraying that. And in the ending, I think it shows you…why the acting is hyper-realized. Honestly, I thought that was cleverly done. 

And speaking of that, I actually liked the ending. That’s a controversial statement. Oh well. I thought it wove everything in pretty well and left me pretty satisfied. But, maybe I’ve been there. Maybe I’ve felt that before. Maybe I could understand what Ajai was going for because maybe I, too, have performed the ritual…

Brain Roll Juice:

Here’s my unpopular opinion puffin moment – I liked the movie.

Ajai certainly has a style and enormous vision/ambition. This movie, while reminiscent of early 2000’s movies (such as Identity, The Cell, and The Cube), had its own ideas and concepts. To be honest, if this was a well-structured horror game, I think people would probably be singing a different song. I think that the medium and budget were the biggest restrictions for Ajai’s design. 

But I don’t think that the concept was bad or annoying, as some critics have written. Honestly, it’s refreshing to see something a bit different and with a more Outer Limits twist (not quite Twilight Zone quality, but pushing against the conventional boundaries). It offers something that actually was daring and different. 

It’s so often to hear the the complaint from fans that the horror genre is stale or that low-budget relies on tropes to get people watching, but when someone actually shoots for something off-kilter, people are quick to judge. Sure, there are things that would have strengthened the film and story, it’s not flawless, but I think it’s under-rated. This film has style and imagination, which is usually lacking in half the movies I watch. Stitch isn’t a clean movie, but it’s got heart. 

And yeah, maybe it didn’t live up to its potential, but this is also the director’s first full-length feature. It’s a shame it didn’t do better because I’m curious what other ideas he has. Maybe he should talk to the gaming industry…

Bottom-line:

Feels like an early 2000’s psychological thriller/horror. Does that sound up your alley? Give it a try, then. Just be patient with the Lightning World effects. 

It’s really busy this time of year…
4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)
About the Author

When not howling Tina Turner classics with Glorious Spouse under a Detroit moon, J.M. Brannyk (a.k.a. Boxhuman) reviews mostly supernatural and slasher films from the 70's-90's and is dubiously HauntedMTL's Voice of Reason. Aside from writing, Brannyk dips into the podcasts, and is the composer of many of HauntedMTL's podcast themes.

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