Star Rating:


Director: Alberto Corredor

Actors: Freya Allan, Peter Mullan, Jeremy Irvine

Release Date: Friday 26th January 2024

Genre(s): Horror

Running time: 94 minutes

A struggling art student (Freya Allan) inherits an empty, disused pub from her estranged father (Peter Mullan) and sets off to Germany with her friend Katie (Ruby Barker). Yet, the pub itself hides a dark secret. In the basement, a shapeshifting demon exists who has the ability to bring back the dead - but only for two minutes, after which the demon assumes control. The demon exerts a control over whoever has the deed to the pub and the land, which causes misery and tragedy for anyone who tries to leave...

High-concept horror movies, or ones set up with rigid rules and arbitrary consequences, often require a lot of tight plotting before it can begin to add visual flourishes and outsized performances from the cast. The base logic of the thing has to be solid the whole way through in order for everything else to follow, even if said rules and so forth aren't necessarily followed to the letter. Subversion and misdirection can often work wonders in an idea such as 'Baghead'.

Unfortunately, there's such little imagination in 'Baghead', such dull characterisation, and so many underlying issues with the script, that it really doesn't matter if there's anything else going on. It's a crying shame as there's an accomplished and varied cast assembled, including the great Peter Mullan, who is just utterly squandered in this, as well as lead and rising star Freya Allan. Not even our own Ned Dennehy, always a reliable fixture in B-movie horrors like this, can liven things up for anyone. The design of the titular monster / demon / whatever is by itself pretty unimaginative. When you consider what 'It Follows' was able to do with the idea of death taking the form of someone you love, 'Baghead' instead opts for hollow sentiment instead.

Even more, there's a tiresome plot point involving Jeremy Irvine's character, Neil, that is staged like some kind of rug-pull moment when it could have been done so much better. There's a missed opportunity in the idea of having a demon as a side-hustle business that could have produced some either some campy horror or some commentary, but instead it's just swept over on the way to lazy jump-scares and the most egregious example of exposition info-dumping you're likely to see this month. Not surprisingly, one of the screenwriters on 'Baghead' was Bryce McGuire, who also penned and directed another turgid January horror, 'Night Swim'. Even more upsetting is that it also had another great actor - our own Kerry Condon, no less - mercilessly squandered in service to bland, unoriginal horror.

Beyond the issues with the script, 'Baghead' just looks plain dull. The drinking hall and the basement itself where much of the action takes place are lit and shot with zero imagination. The gothic surrounds of Berlin and Germany itself are utilised in such a flat way that it barely registers where they are until you see a car registration. Not even the special effects or the creature effects are worth mentioning either. 'Baghead' has nothing in its bag of tricks to keep anyone staying in their seat to the credits.