THE SPECIAL (2020) [Grimmfest 2020 Review]

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the special


Directed by B. Harrison Smith

Suspecting his wife has cheated, Jerry is taken to a brothel by his workmate Mike in a bid to “get his own back” on her infidelities and to take his mind off his home life. Although he has the pick of a handful of women, Mike recommends Jerry has ‘the special’ – an experience so good, you only need to have it the once, and he’s not wrong! Unlike the living, breathing beauties in the lounge area, the special is something else entirely; a box within the ultimate pleasure lies. Whatever is inside the box gives Jerry the greatest orgasm he’s ever experienced and, unable to forget the penis mind-blowing feeling, decides he wants more of the sexual pleasure he’s received, no matter the consequences.

Ever heard the saying “it’s too good to be true”? Well, maybe Jerry should have stuck to Mike’s advice in horror movie THE SPECIAL as he slowly finds out the price to be paid for indulging in an extra-martial affair with a mystery sex box. Fleshlights and Tenga eggs are soooo last year as this seems to be the new masturbatory tool in town (if the filmmakers don’t team up with a sex toy brand to make a a few ‘specials’ for promo usage, they’re missing a trick!).

Shot on a budget, THE SPECIAL feels very independent with some decent enough, if a little rough-round-the-edges, performances from its cast, in what feels more like an early noughties movie rather than one shot twenty years on. However, this plays into the story and the vibe of the film as it settles into its seedy, debauched spiral involving Jerry and his new lover, who I’ll reference as sex box fore hereon in. The sex box is simple in design; a black box with hinges and a padlock keeping it shut. All that is exposed is a gloryhole in the side of the box complete with directions written above. What’s inside the box is anyone’s guess, and Jerry is extremely curious to know what is exactly giving him the time of his life. Having watched many horror movies, you get the feeling it’s not something you’d like to find out though it’s this what keeps the viewers glued to the screen as Jerry’s behaviour becomes more and more erratic as his obsession with sex box intensifies.

Jerry starts out as a likeable bloke, easily led astray by his more street-wise friend, Mike, but as the film progresses, Jerry becomes twisted and toxic with his carnal desires clouding his thinking and purely driving him to retain his newfound obsession, no matter the cost in what is a chilling transformation. He even makes Mike look an angel which, from the opening scenes of the film, I didn’t think was possible.

Whilst you may think it’s a simple idea on the surface, THE SPECIAL takes you on a sleazy journey that keeps you on the edge… waiting for the ultimate climax, and, just like the sexbox, it doesn’t disappoint. Each passing minute, the hole in which Jerry finds himself deepens (not literally lol). As a viewer, you wonder where and when it will all end, with his actions stacking up against him in a way he cannot escape. Though many horror fans may correctly predict what happens, like I did, the execution couldn’t be any better.

THE SPECIAL has a touch of Cronenberg body horror about it that horror fans will adore and had me grinning from ear to ear. The FX alone are worth a watch but, combined together with the storytelling, deliver an unexpected experience that I think fans will relish.

Rating: ★★★★★★★☆☆☆

About Bat 8055 Articles
I love practical effects, stop-motion animation and gore, but most of all I love a good story! I adore B-movies and exploitation films in many of their guises and also have a soft spot for creature features. I review a wide range of media including movies, TV series, books and videogames. I'm a massive fan of author Hunter S. Thompson and I enjoy various genre of videogames with Kingdom Hearts and Harvest Moon two of my all time favs. Currently playing: The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Yakuza Zero and Webbed.

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