Rating: 1.5 out of 5.

With an impressive deluge of great horror flooding our eyeballs in 2022, it’s difficult to recommend something as pedestrian and poorly made as Grimcutty. I did admire that the script by John Ross (who also directs) attempts to comment on our connection to technology, but how can one possibly be bothered when the acting, direction, and “scares” are so scatter-brained? There’s a new Internet challenge taking the world by storm! Parents everywhere are rightfully freaking out—they call it Grimcutty, a scary character who appears to young children and teens and forces them to cut themselves or others. In extreme cases, death is a rather unpleasant side effect of the Grimcutty Challenge.

A mommy blogger appears to help set off this new chain. In the opening scene, she is anxiously researching silly internet challenges, her small young boy nearby. Before our eyes, this child is pursued by a horrifying figure as her mom reads up on its legend. Cutting right to the chase, I was actually really impressed with this fast-paced, eerie opener. It teases a glimpse of Grimcutty through the eyes of a defenseless child, and establishes our rules without spelling them out. As far as beginnings, Grimcutty won me over here, but unfortunately takes far too long to get back to the point. It never manages to be as effective as its first scene, apart from a creative scare involving a webcam.

Nothing is more annoying to me than ASMR, so from the second frustrating teen Asha (Sara Wolfkind) comes onto the screen, I was already rolling my eyes. Is there really something cathartic about Asha’s soft whispers? If her 9 followers are any indication, Asha’s attempts to be an influencer aren’t exactly going to plan. Her younger brother Kamran (Callan Farris) plays the saxophone, but Asha has recently dropped out from the track team. This leaves her the target of her over-involved parents Leah (Shannyn Sossamon, Sinister, One Missed Call) and Amir (Usman Ally, The Hunt, Netflix’s A Series of Unfortunate Events), who make it their mission for Asha to have the most annoying home life known to man. Phone-free outings are a regular occurrence, wherein the entire family must leave their cellular devices behind.

Imagine the annoyance of being in this family, with parents that research “bad teen anxiety,” and now imagine if those very same parents got wind of a supposedly deadly challenge. They say a scary character, Grimcutty, pops up randomly during a video or advertisement, and then the victims will be forced to commit physical harm on themselves. Before anything can be done to stop it, the kids are next introduced to a “detox box” in which they must leave behind technology, potentially permanently. All the plugs are pulled on the modems, so there’s no internet access either. Even at school, the computers have been disconnected. Unplugging from technology may be the only way to get all the children of the area to safety from Grimcutty!

For starters, while this may seem like an interesting concept in theory, Grimcutty is just so poorly made on every level. The creature design of Grimcutty is very cool, but entirely lacks personality. There was clearly not much budget here, which is totally okay, but why does the baddie look like a reject version of Ryuk from Death Note? None of the younger cast seem to have any traditional practice in acting, and among the adults, only Asha’s mother Lea emerges as noteworthy. Asha herself is probably the worst, as I have not seen a lead character with this little redeeming value in quite a long while. At times, Grimcutty was almost as awful as internet urban legend movie Smiley from 2012—almost. It’s a mostly entertaining horror mystery focused on the hysteria of believing everything you read on the internet, but definitely drags a lot in the second half. The only logical thing to do with Grimcutty is to pretend it doesn’t exist, much like I do with most internet challenges.

Grimcutty cuts deep into streaming when it debuts exclusively to Hulu on Monday, October 10th.

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