A journey to Manchester between cannibalism and orgies. Habit – movie review

I asked on my twitter page (that’s @horroreviews) and in a Facebook group what movie would people want me to review between Habit and Blood Hunt.

Evidently, they voted for Habit, an English (specifically Manchurian) horror film that centres around Michael (Elliot Langridge), a misfortunate man who spends his days drinking and getting smashed. That is, until he meets Lee (Jessica Barden), a girl who offers him a job as security guard in a brothel ran by her uncle. Soon enough, Michael finds out that something shady happens to the more violent and disrespectful customers…

Habit 1.jpgHabit starts off rather promising, with a surreal and colourful vibe that enhances Michael’s addiction to alcohol.  Set within the neon drenched rain swept underbelly of Manchester, the movie perfectly captures the dodgy side of the city, introducing the viewer to low-life characters.

You can also tell Simeon Halligan (writer and director) really wanted to make something good and different, since the whole movie can be seen as a metaphor for how the rich abuse the poor with terrible consequences. Sure, it’s been done before and better (They Live, 1988 and Society, 1989, among other titles), but it’s basically an always-valid concept that can be used in many art forms.

Yet, the structure of Habit is well executed, with a long but mildly interesting build-up that leads to a climactic last 20 minutes that are both intriguing and freaky.

Habit 2.jpgOn the other hand, the movie suffers enormously from budget restraints and lack of experience in basically everyone who worked on it. Other than Jessica Barden (Hanna, The Lobster), the cast members are amateurs… even though Elliot Langridge was in Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix (for like 23 seconds). I don’t think that counts though! Even the director had little previous experiences, therefore he struggled a lot with pace and balancing action-packed scenes with dialogue sequences.

As a consequence of this, the acting ranges from acceptable to worthless, which doesn’t help the movie to achieve the dramatic impact it was seemingly going for.

Furthermore, in a few sequences, Habit displayed quite great practical effects and it’s really a shame that gore and violence are so sparse and far apart in the movie.

Ultimately, the movie fell flat for me, in the middle between a good potential and poor execution.

Habit              5/10

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imdb My review is also available on IMDb – Habit