The Spine of Night – Film Review

Directors: Philip Gelatt and Morgan Galen King

Writers: Philip Gelatt and Morgan Galen King

Starring: Richard E. Grant, Lucy Lawless, Patton Oswalt, Betty Gabriel, Joe Manganiello

Rating: ★★★½

The Spine of Night is an animated dark fantasy film from Philip Gelatt and Morgan Galen King. It’s a very horrific and gory animated film, that looks great and builds an interesting world. The story takes place over several generations and is filled with more traditional fantasy elements from magic and witches, to bloody battles and empires.  

The film is framed by Tzod (Lucy Lawless) telling The Guardian (Richard E. Grant) what’s happened to the blue bloom that she once had in possession. It was taken form her by Ghal-Sur (Jordan Smith), who leaves her for death in the swamp she once called home. Ghal-Sur uses the bloom to become an all-powerful tyrannical leader for centuries to come.

The story starts with Tzod and Ghal-Sur meeting for the first time, when he takes the power from her and then the film skip generations into the future, catching up with what’s happened over the years. It does mean the film feels a little episodic and when you get into one segment it feels like it’s over and replaced with another, each one with less interesting characters. The thread running through them all is Ghal-Sur’s reign.

The animation is great, and feels completely different to most things we get now. There’s something really brutal and raw about it, with a rough around the edges feel. It completely works with the dark fantasy setting for the story. It also works with the extreme amounts of violence and gore in the film. People being sliced up every which way, and its borderline stomach churning to watch.

It’s like Masters of the Universe with a lot more blood, guts and death. It’s a visual feast with some unique and captivating animation. It may suffer from the stop/start chapters, but when it works it has you completely under its spell.

The Spine of Night will be available on Shudder from March 24th

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About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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