A young man wakes up alone in a room with no memory of who he is or what happened to him. The room he awakes in has been demolished, the doors and windows are boarded up, and he is covered in black sludge. The only clues he has are drawings of a girl on the wall with the word “remember” written above them. He has to try to bring back his memories in order to save himself. He soon realizes that it is not only his life at stake, but the life of the girl in the drawings as well.
This film has such an interesting and original story line that I can’t think of a single horror film that is like it. That alone makes this a great film. As you can see from the trailer, all the trouble started for the camp counselors when a plane crashed nearby. That crash lead to the spread of a virus around the camp that takes over the host, causing them to almost be possessed by the virus while black sludge oozes out of their mouth and nose. What makes this virus unique compared to what you may have seen in other horror films is that those who become infected also become part of a hive mind (hence the name of the film). This means they can all share each other’s thoughts and memories. This is something that can be seen in many types of insects.
Another aspect of the film that made it more interesting was how the plot is revealed. We come in towards the end of the story. As the film goes on more is revealed through a series of memories. It made the film more interesting and intense because it was almost as if we were remembering things along with the lead actor. The fact that many of the memories are not his own also added to how fascinating the story was. Something else that made this story so compelling was the love story. I feel that the love stories in most horror films are all too predictable and don’t add anything to the story. The love aspect of The Hive felt so sweet and sincere. I’m not even sure I could put my finger on what made the love story so believable, but it actually added to the story instead of detracting from it.
The acting had much to do with the success of the film as well. The two lead actors are relatively unknown. Adam is played by Gabriel Basso (Super 8) and the girl he loves, Katie, is played by Kathryn Prescott (Finding Carter). I was especially impressed with Basso’s performance. Throughout the majority of the film we are seeing things and understanding things along with Basso’s character, and he does a superb job commanding your attention. His reactions and responses to what is happening around him seem completely genuine. The evolution of his character was also very believable, showing Adam go from a guy who is obsessed with girls and his social media accounts to a guy who is in love and will do whatever he can to make things right. Some of the most enthralling performances came from those who were infected. Not only did Prescott deliver a bone-chilling infected performance, but Gabrielle Walsh (Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones), who played Jess, also gave a performance that really messes with your head.
This film is also visually stunning for a multitude of reasons. I was absolutely blown away by the gorgeous cinematography. The angles and viewpoints used for many of the scenes added so much depth and interest that I found myself thinking “wow that’s gorgeous” in some of the most gruesome scenes. The makeup effects in this film, while disgusting, also added a lot of visual interest. For the most part the infected makeup looks quite a bit like the 2013 remake of Evil Dead; lots of black veining on the skin and black sludge coming out of the ears, nose, and mouth. There is an addition of some rather disgusting yellowish boils and eerie contacts as well. The one thing that really adds to the makeup and makes it stand out is the use of black light. Shortly after we are first introduced to Adam, who is covered in the black veins and ooze, we see him under a black light. With this lighting we see a different set of veining on his skin that glows neon blue. It adds a bit of beauty to this horrific look while also making it stand out from infection makeup looks you may have seen in other films.
The Hive has quickly become one of my favorite horror films of 2015. It really has everything I could want in an infection style horror film. It has an original story with a unique infection, the acting is outstanding, and it is a film that is both horrifyingly gory and stunning at the same time. I also loved that this film surprised me with a story that wasn’t predictable (and therefore was very enthralling). Add the fact that the story line included a romance that didn’t feel forced, and you get a film that feels dynamic and interesting. This is the kind of film that I will be telling everyone to watch.
OVERALL RATING: 9.5/10