Review: The Spine of Night (SXSW 2021)


Title: The Spine of Night
MPAA Rating: Not Yet Rated
Director: Philip Gelatt, Morgan Galen King
Starring: Richard E. Grant, Lucy Lawless, Patton Oswalt
Runtime: 1 hr 33 mins

What It Is: In a fantasy land of magic Tzod (Lawless) has returned from certain death. She’s returned to seek vengeance on those that committed her supposed murder. We are journeying through both the time and space of this world. Will Tzod or anyone else is able to stop the warlord that’s used the power of the flower that’s helped him maintain control. It’s about to get bloody and gory and violent.

What We Think: This fell flat for me. The animation style, while unique just didn’t work for me. I had no problem with the level of violence because it worked for the story being attempted. Most of the voice acting is okay and it sort of works but even here there are several questions. A lot of the narrative is sort of nonsense. It’s structured very oddly insofar as if you blink you will inevitably miss something and then lose whatever the hell was happening. The film takes great pleasure in assuring it’ll split the audience with it’s gratuitous violence.

Our Grade: D-, Equal parts adult cartoon and “epic” fantasy adventure. This seems like the story was written by your weird uncle who has an airbrushed van and listens to too much 80’s hair metal (Stryper for life). It seems to be content with throwing a fully gratutious nude warrior woman at the audience for all of the opening and closing 10 minutes adding in nonsense about a magic flower and just sticking stupidity into the middle hour plus credits. Don’t see this for the love of whatever you hold sacred. It’s a complete bore. Sure the passion was probably there but that doesn’t make this a worthwhile endeavor.

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