Judy movie
Emanuele De Santi


Bad things happen to bad people. That’s what Ursula, the ring leader of a deranged group of street performers called “The Crows”, always says. For no apparent reason, the gang starts to torment Mary and Judy: a young car driver and her dog. Her only crime was not paying attention to the annoying street performers. For Mary, the curtains of the most insane and dangerous show will rise – and fall. The Crows’ show is not just about blood. We proudly assure you it will be the scariest, most uncomfortable and grotesque performance you will ever see.


Let me start off this review by saying that I am not a fan of clowns. I don’t mean that in a “I flip out when I see them, they’re so scary” kind of way. I mean that I think they’re boring and overused. Thanks to Stephen Kings’ Pennywise (from It) and northern Illinois’ John Wayne Gacy, we’ve been inundated with clowns in our horror for the past thirty years, and every time it looks like they’re going away, they’re right back in our faces with the Insane Clown Posse and a flood of unoriginal, over-the-top clowns-as-killers horror films. It’s rare that any movie with clowns in it will leave a good impression on me anymore. And then along comes Emanuele De Santi’s Judy.

Fans of the genre might recognize the name Emanuele De Santi, as he is the writer, director, and plays the title character in a certain 2011 gorefest called Adam Chaplin. With Judy, De Santi opts for a slightly different approach; there’s still some horrific gore here, but it plays second seat to a sense of dread and tension. What we end up with here is a horror movie that aims to put the scares ahead of the blood and gore, and it is very successful.

Mary (played by Orietta Babusci) is driving home from work when she gets a call from her mother. The call turns into an argument, so Mary pulls off the road to finish the conversation. After her phone seems to lose its signal, and the call is dropped, a strange woman with a clown/mime look to her approaches the car, startling Mary. The woman asks for some money, to which Mary says no, but apparently that no wasn’t enough. She keeps pestering, and finally Mary pulls a gun on her and then drives off. If only Mary had seen the opening scene…

Judy kicks off in shocking fashion, demanding your full attention. There are street performers that go under the name The Crows dragging a crate covered in spikes, then stomping another girl who did them wrong. We meet Ursula (the woman soon to be asking Mary for money, played by Marlagrazia Giorgi), a young female performer named Pierrot, and another performer wearing a mask with glowing eyes. After Ursula summons Mr. Scissor – a “trick” involving a small hand puppet poking out of the spiked crate and dancing about – Pierrot gives in to temptation and opens the crate, a no-no in the world of the Crows. Whatever is in there causes her to gasp in fright. Shortly after breaking the rules, she’s brutally assaulted, and a little of the Adam Chaplin gore stains the screen as she is destroyed in front of us. If they’ll do this to one of their own, what kind of trouble will Mary find herself in?

As you’ve noticed, the main character’s name is Mary, not Judy. Judy is her dog, but an equally important part of the film. After her run-in with Ursula, Mary heads home and goes on with her life, but strange things start happening at her place. Her clothes line falls over outside, strange noises start coming from somewhere in the house, windows that were closed suddenly are open, a strange phone number keeps calling her but no one ever says anything on the other end. And then Judy disappears, and when Mary is out looking for her, she sees someone walking along her roof.

Judy feels like a haunted house movie, which is impressive because it’s not. There is an intense sense of claustrophobia as we follow Mary around her small place, knowing there’s someone in there, or maybe just outside a window, waiting to get her. And every time it seems that she’s about to discover the truth, something else happens to drag her even further down. A strange hole has been drilled in her floor, she sees someone out of the corner of her eye (or did she?), there must be someone crouched underneath the crumpled robe on the bathroom floor. And then she hears her dog bark, and it’s coming from somewhere inside the house. And that’s just a part of what you’ve got coming at you.

De Santi masterfully creates a building sense of dread that keeps mounting all the way until the violent, bloody finale. If I just read the plot summary of this film, it might have been one I passed on. I am so glad that I didn’t, this is one creepy movie. It’s similar to a home invasion movie like Ils (Them) or even The Strangers, but in a much smaller, more cramped setting. And I can’t stress this enough, the tension building is done very, very well. There are surprises at the end, another thing I appreciated from a movie that could have just thrown it all out there right away and aimed to shock rather than scare. Judy isn’t just for fans of foreign horror, or for fans of clown-related horror; it’s for fans of horror, period. I’ve seen quite a few movies already this year, but Judy jumped to the top position of my early “Best of…” list. Highly recommended!



Kairo (Pulse) review

Kairo (Pulse)


It’s safe to say that we’ve created our share of iconic horror characters here in America. Horror icons like Freddy Krueger (A Nightmare on Elm Street), Michael Myers (Halloween), or Jason Vorhees (Friday the 13th) are so highly recognizable, that they’re pretty much synonymous with the mere concept of a horror movie. Even so, no country handles horror quite like Japan does. Japanese horror films have a much-deserved reputation for being exceptionally horrifying and thought-provoking at the same time. You won’t find as many homicidal maniacs gracing genre screens in... Read More

The Black Room Review

The Black Room


When it comes to classic horror tropes – like haunted houses and the dark secrets they hide – there’s definitely more than one way to approach material that is very familiar to the average genre fan by now. More and more modern filmmakers are adopting a cerebral approach and turning their haunted house movies into social commentaries with something larger to say. Others are focused on simply telling a good scary story with plenty of jump scares and special effects. Still more go for an exploitive approach that is almost intentionally trashy. The Black Room could probably... Read More

The Shrine Review

The Shrine


The Shrine is the type of film that comes complete with lots of familiar horror tropes an avid genre lover will recognize. You’ve got the mysterious disappearance of a traveler under mysterious circumstances, as well as a team of people seeking answers as to the details of those circumstances. You’ve got a remote village in a foreign land populated by strange people who raise an eyebrow or two thanks to their mysterious beliefs and practices. Scares, jumps, and mysteries abound as the protagonists attempt to make sense of it all. Given those facts, the plotline of The... Read More



Jack Crow is much more than a vampire hunter. He is a war machine that considers vampires as the embodiment of Evil and teammates as soldiers to be strictly trained so that they never fail. The Vatican monitors him from afar, assists him through specially trained priests, and supports him economically. This unlikely but functional partnership between this sort of crepuscular cow boy and one of the most important religious institutions in the world undergoes a stop when the ancient and powerful Valek breaks into the room where a vampire hunting party is celebrating, making... Read More

The Curse of La Llorona Review

The Curse of La Llorona


If you’re a fan of the ever-expanding universe of The Conjuring, then it makes sense that The Curse of La Llorona would definitely be on your radar. It is the sixth addition to the franchise, joining other recent hits like The Nun and Annabelle in fleshing out the world first introduced by the original Conjuring back in 2013. It’s also the directorial debut of Michael Chaves (who will also be directing the upcoming Conjuring 3) and is, of course, produced by James Wan. Linda Cardellini (Strangeland), Raymond Cruz (From Dusk Till Dawn 2), Sean Patrick Thomas (Kemper, The... Read More