From director Rueben Martell, who co-wrote the story with Rueben Martell, comes Don’t Say Its Name. A horror that combines Inuit folklore and real-life issues that come from being within an isolated community.
It really could have been good, but haphazard story-telling and a misplaced focus result in a movie that frustrates more than it entertains.
The movie begins with a young woman named Kharis (Sheena Kaine) being run over and killed by a truck. Her body is found, but the driver of the truck is a mystery. The ‘accident’ divides a community already at odds over the land and the selling of it to a mining company. Meaning police officer Mary (Madison Wash) and ranger Stacey (Sera-Lys McArthur) must find out what happened to Kharis, ASAP.
Unfortunately for them though, Kharis’ death has awoken something called a Wheetago. A monster with an appetite, and a monster that seems to be targeting those who have some involvement with the mining company.
That is Don’t Say Its Name’s story simplified, but there are more threads here, something the movie really struggles to tie together. Not only that, a lot of these story beats are dropped in at random, resulting in a constant state of confusion. Characters are suddenly given minor backstory moments that have no bearing on the events of the film, and the monster takes a massive backseat to stuff that is just boring to watch.
It’s not the fault of the cast, who are all pretty solid, but rather their direction. There are just too many threads and the unravelling is apparent early on. Likewise, the monster itself is intriguing but, once it becomes apparent that it’s not integral to the plot, it loses its lustre. That, and the fact that the film doesn’t have much gore. Instead, the film opting for the aftermath with some blood here and there.
It’s quite something to see the film fall apart minute by minute.
There seems to be a mindset that the viewer should go out of their way to read up on the folklore and struggles of indigenous people to understand a lot of the film. Which would be fine if what it was showing and saying was compelling to begin with.
It’s not. What it is, is disappointing and irritating. Not two feelings anyone would want to have watching a horror movie.
Don't Say Its Name (2021)
The Final Score - 4/10