By James Hancock September 14th, 2015
The Hive manages that rare feat of introducing a fresh take on familiar ideas and scenarios in the horror genre where filmmakers too often live in the shadow of the classics of the past. While I’m not quite ready to rank David Yarovesky’s The Hive alongside the horror films of George A. Romero, Sam Raimi and Danny Boyle from which the film clearly draws its inspiration, that said, I had a blast watching the movie and was totally caught off guard by how much I enjoyed the budding romance at the heart of the story, a relationship with far more emotion than I ever would have thought possible in a low budget genre film of this nature. I first became aware of The Hive during Chris Hardwick’s panel for Nerdist Industries at San Diego Comic Con back in July. Chris Hardwick, who is a superb comedian and host of one of my favorite podcasts, announced that the Nerdist was getting into the film distribution business starting with The Hive, a film that Chris had particularly enjoyed in that he is a confirmed horror junkie himself. What was great about tonight’s screening was the video introduction by several personalities from the Nerdist who tackled a variety of topics from the history and variations of the zombie genre, the science of Hive minds in nature and the practical effects that went into making the film. These videos were the perfect primer for getting into the mood for the movie, a movie that stirs all these ideas into a concentrated brew that should push all the right buttons with fans of gory horror movies.
What makes the premise of The Hive so enjoyable is the way the film is pieced together. The story begins in the aftermath of an outbreak that feels like a combination of George A. Romero’s classic zombies, Danny Boyle’s rage virus, and Sam Raimi’s deadites. Victims of the outbreak gradually lose their individuality and become part of a larger hive mind trying to conquer the world. The central character played by Gabriel Basso is in a cabin under siege and meanwhile he is trying desperately to hang onto his identity by writing himself notes and focusing intensely on his memories leading up to the outbreak. Due to his already being infected, he can tap into some additional memories as well of those already assimilated into the Hive. Structurally this leads to a story told out of order where the audience is fed crucial plot information in a piecemeal fashion as we watch the usual murder and mayhem we want to see splatter all over the screen. The dialogue and the acting occasionally feel a little amateur but not excessively so, but for anyone who is bothered by a few wooden performances they are probably not spending a lot of time watching horror in the first place. What we have here is a solid genre film with some shocking imagery and original ideas geared toward hardcore fans of R-rated horror films. If you are a confirmed fanatic for the horror genre, I strongly suggest you give the movie a try.
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