Fresh Meat #9: Appendage (2023)

I’ve never been a huge fan of body horror. I enjoy Cronenberg films, which are mostly of that genre, but I feel his are just so bizarre and engaging that they’re completely mesmerizing. Where I struggle are the body horror films that are NOT of the Cronenberg library. I would normally bypass a film like this, but it has appeared on several “best of” lists. I’m always looking for that little seen film that can turn the genre upside down, so I’m hoping this Hulu Original can at least turn it sideways…. or at least like 10 degrees off of right-side up. 


A young fashion designer’s life spirals as her darkest inner thoughts manifest into something gruesome- that won’t stop growing. 

IMDb: 5.1 

Rotten Tomatoes: 56% 

Tagline: Embrace your inner demons 

Anna Zlokovic makes her directorial debut, hot off of a series of shorts and TV projects. She immediately makes us feel uneasy with the gurgling stomach/side that is seemingly pulsating and manifesting in a discoloration of the skin that almost looks like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers flag logo. She also shows us right off who the main character’s bestie is based off of their matching forearm tattoos. It saves us the waste that is known as actual dialogue and character development.  

When we are watching a film about people in the fashion industry, is it always the stereotype that the teacher/artist/designer is an incredibly eccentric asshole? We get it. The fashion industry is apparently full of mean nasty people. Why do people want to get into that field, then? 

When we finally see the appendage, the damn thing has eyes and teeth that, while at least it’s a practical effect, looks more like a slimy puppet. I immediately thought of Belial in Basket Case, smiled at the thought of the superior film, then frowned and got back to watching this one. 

Apparently, the damn thing spurs her creativity and helps her create a dress that looks like someone was slaughtered in it with a chainsaw, which doesn’t surprise me that the asshole fashion guy loves it. I mean, this is 2023, and we wear dresses made of meat and people look like peacocks, so who wouldn’t want to wear a dress that looks like someone was brutally murdered in it? 

Good lord, they’re saying this girl absorbed her twin and this thing might be what’s growing in her? Or already grew in her? Or whatever the hell is going on? Didn’t James Wan just direct this movie? His version was better.  

Then the film takes a weird turn by introducing us to a support group for people with appendages that act crazy. I have to say, the writing for this has taken an idea that has been done and gone off in a weird direction. But as nice as refreshing as that is, the puppet thing is just bad. Once again, kudos for practical effects, but how could the actress not laugh when she’s interrogating the damn thing that’s tied to a chair? 

Overall, it’s quirky, it’s hard to predict, the writing and acting are very competent, the ending is worthy of it’s OWN discussion, but the appendage is just weird. It’s like a Hollywood film that spent all its money on everything BUT the creature effects. Like if Basket Case cost 40 million dollars to make, but they still used the same damn puppet thing for Belial. Feel free to watch it. It is a decent waste of 90 minutes. Then let’s discuss that ending!

5.5/10 Stab Wounds 

About RetRo(n) 61 Articles
I like the 80s, slasher films, Italian directors, Evil Ed, Trash and Nancy, Ripley and Private First Class Hudson, retro crap but not SyFy crap, old school skin, Freddy and Savini, Spinell and Coscarelli, Andre Toulon, and last, but not least, Linda Blair.