Z (2020)

A mother discovers that her son’s imaginary friend is not as he seems to be in this horror film from director Brandon Christensen.

Beth Parsons has been living a happy life with her husband Kevin and son Joshua. Joshua hasn’t been social as he once was. One night, Beth discovers that Joshua has made up an imaginary friend named Z. With Z, Joshua feels at ease when they play at night. However, when Beth learns Joshua begins to exhibit some very terrible behavior that led to his suspension, she is both stunned and concerned. Despite efforts from Dr. Seager, Beth finds herself more concerned while Kevin thinks it’s nothing more than harmless fun.

However, things slowly begin to unravel when Joshua begins to show more signs that something isn’t right. When Josh paints a portrait of Z on his bedroom wall, Beth really begins to freak out. When Beth and her sister Jenna are at their now late mother’s house and getting her things, Beth comes across a videotape. When she watches the videotape that show her as a young child celebrating her birthday, she comes across a very shocking discovery. One that connects her, Joshua, and the imaginary friend known as “Z”. Will she be able to find a way to stop Z before it’s too late?

The world of imaginary friends tends to have that supernatural edge. While 1991’s Drop Dead Fred was more of a comedy involving a bit of a creepy factor, last year’s Daniel Was Real brought the imaginary friend to a very insane environment. However, while Daniel comes in the form of a human, co-writer and director Brandon Christensen decided to not reveal Z until well midway through the film and if you think a drawing depicts Z, you’re right but when he appears, he looks like a cross between Gollum and Dobby.

Final Destination 2 and Bates Motel actor Keegan Connor Tracy drives the film as Beth, the woman who is concerned with her son and his behavior since meeting his “imaginary” friend, the titular Z. Tracy, who has played strong women within her other horror film roles, goes the opposite route and becomes more of a frightened mother who finds herself at odds with Z, especially when there are certain scenes that will make you jump off your seat. The jump scare in one scene really takes on a totally new height of shock because it comes so unexpected. Luke Moore brings more of the scares in his sporadic scenes as the titular Z.

Jett Klyne is excellent as Beth’s son Joshua. In the aforementioned unexpected jump scare, Joshua pulls off a look worthy of a young Damien Thorn of the Omen franchise. Sara Canning and Sean Rogerson bring some pretty good support as Beth’s sister and husband. However, it is clear this is ultimately Keegan Connor Tracy’s film as proven in the third act, when she discovers an unexpected secret which forces her into confronting Z once and for all.

Z brings the scares, with a few twists in the film and an unexpected jump scare that will keep you at the edge of your seat, all driven by the performance of the great Keegan Connor Tracy.

WFG RATING: B+

RLJE Films and Shudder presents a Hardon Films in association with Digital Interference Productions. Director: Brandon Christensen. Producers: Chris Ball, Brandon Christensen, Kurtis David Harder, and Colin Minihan. Writers: Brandon Christensen and Colin Minihan. Cinematography: Bradley Stuckel. Editing: Brandon Christensen.

Cast: Keegan Connor Tracy, Jett Klyne, Sean Rogerson, Sara Canning, Stephen McHattie, Chandra West, Luke Moore, Fox Rose.

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