‘The Body’ brings well-executed bloodshed to All Hallows’ Eve

Noah Levine

Halloween night is the perfect time to cover up a murder.

Into the Dark, a brand new horror series from genre king Blumhouse Productions released its first episode on Hulu, with a new short film added each month. Each installment revolves around a particular holiday, with the Oct. 5 episode centered around Halloween. In traditional Blumhouse production style, every holiday story has a terrifying twist. The first, and most recent, episode “The Body” follows a hitman on Halloween night as his plan to dispose of a victim gets wrapped up in Hallows’ Eve madness when his predicament is mistaken for a Halloween gag.

Right away, “The Body” establishes an unsettling tone. Creepy synth music echoes through the air as the camera flies around a seemingly normal apartment. As the camera turns around a corner, we are met with the sight of the most important character — a body face down and bleeding on the hard floor. Soon after, we are introduced to a hitman called Wilkes, played devilishly by Tom Bateman, as he munches on a deliciously grotesque dessert covered in maggots. This is just a taste of the unsettling imagery “The Body” has to offer.

One of the best parts of “The Body” is the intriguing and well-acted cast of characters. Bateman’s menacing Wilkes is a character that needs no scary mask or bloody cleaver to send chills down your spine. Ray Santiago’s Halloween-obsessed Jack is a treat as well. This ensemble unfortunately gets entangled within the hitman’s agenda, causing a chain of events that, to put it nicely, ends in a lot of crimson liquid. Rebecca Rittenhouse’s Maggie adds an interesting element to the cast, as she is more complex than the attractive, innocent woman she comes across as. Her relationship with Wilkes is one of the more fascinating elements of the story.

“The Body” storyline is wonderfully written and self-aware about what it wants to be — a fun Halloween short film that brings the blood without sacrificing a compelling narrative. The story explores intriguing and morbid concepts that range from the morals associated with being a contract killer to the most effective way to dispose of a rotting corpse. Even with such a dreary and horrifying subject matter, the installment still makes time to throw jokes at the audience. The dialogue frequently references pop culture, poking fun at the endless amount of Friday the 13th movies in existence. These jokes add another layer of fun to the already engaging story.

Arguably one of the episode’s craziest aspects is its use of gut-wrenching practical effects. Characters are disposed of in increasingly inventive and gruesome ways. Longtime horror fans will enjoy the effects and makeup used to depict these grisly demises. While these deaths are insane in the moment, they certainly feel earned by the time they occur.

Overall, “The Body” is a spooktastic treat for Hulu subscribers during this Halloween season. Blumhouse does it again, bringing fantastic horror entertainment to viewers with new and inventive stories of relentless terror.

“Into the Dark” will continue with one new and unique twisted holiday story dropping on Hulu each month.

RATING: 4.5 wrapped bodies out of 5 bold/arial