One of the most beautiful things about horror as a genre is its devotion to self-reflexive humor. A wink and a nudge have always been in horror, partly because of its subversion of normalcy. This allows audiences worldwide to suspend their disbelief and let everyone know you’re part of the club. Director Fabián Forte does just that in Legions, a film riffing off dozens of fun horror flicks. While Forte nails some of the humor and electricity of those films, he leans a little too hard into comedy for Legions to get scary. While this is not a requirement of all horror, Legions is also not funny enough to score as a comedic film. The tonal purgatory ultimately zaps the film of what could be an enjoyable time.

After falling in love, Sorceror Antonio (Germán de Silva) lost his wife to a creature in the woods. The demons and creatures of evil did not get his daughter but caused him to live in constant fear. His daughter Helena (Lorena Vega) eventually grew up to resent her father’s teachings. Meanwhile, Antonio was sent to an asylum for his beliefs and actions. After decades of fighting these spirits, Antonio must reunite with his daughter to fight them again.

Legions works when father and daughter get to share the screen. The various actors that portray the two sorcerers at various points of their lives all capture the same frustrations. We see a young father dealing with grief while protecting his daughter. A teenage girl wants a normal life, but her dad performs exorcisms in the spare rooms. Finally, an adult woman struggles to connect with the imperfections of her parents. These moments ring true, and Forte’s ability to craft them speaks to his talent.

Legions 2022 Fabian Forte XYZ Films

Additionally, the practical effects of the creatures feel ripped from Raimi’s style. Forte knows when to turn up the blood, and some of the facial prosthetics are quite visceral. A scene where a man loses his lower jaw sticks out as a highlight. With Deadite-inspired ghouls and a very scary werewolf on the prowl, there’s plenty to love in the creature design.

However, Forte and Legions struggle with the tone. Setting it in an asylum makes for some decent bits. However, it also allows the sitcom slapstick to feel out of touch. Many of the jokes come at the expense of the inmates, and when they do not, it opens the door for a depiction of mental illness patients as comedic foils. This actively hurts a film trying to sell you on its emotional core when it juxtaposes it with over-the-top and tired gags about mental institutions.

Legions 2022 Fabian Forte XYZ Films

Legions nearly earns cult classic status and still may be fun to return to in the years to come. However, every joke feels like it could have been bigger, and the scares are nearly non-existent. Even the drama feels half-hearted, leaving Legions with a commitment problem. If all the performances were as dialed into the tone as the makeup effects, we may have found something truly special. However, this leaves the Argentine horror showcase a little underwhelming.

Rating: 5/10

What did you think of Legions? Let us know in the comments below! XYZ Films distributes Legions, which is currently available on VOD.

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Legions 2022 Fabian Forte XYZ Films

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