“Pernicious” (2015): Riddled with Cliches

Three cliche hot American chicks take a trip to Thailand where, panty-clad and  bra-less, they unleash a revenge-seeking poltergeist. This about sums up the plot of Pernicious, a US-Thailand thriller written and  directed by James Cullen Bresack. I have to say, this film falls completely short of expectation… even past the point of horribly awesome. Often (especially in the horror genre) “so bad it’s good” is perfectly acceptable. This is not one of those cases. Pernicious is riddled with cliches, facts and  scenes that do not quite connect, lower par special effects, and  a score that is reminiscent of an old Goosebumps movie or episode of Are You Afraid of the Dark. All this neglects needed details and completely overthinks other aspects, such as specific story lines within the plot. This is so unfortunate, considering the concept is completely workable and  somewhat original — a hard find these days in the film world, much less horror films, where everything is a remake.



The movie begins with three beautiful girls on a summer in Thailand to teach Thai children the English language. Enter plot hole #1 when  later we come to find out that none of them speak a word of Thai and are altogether just not that smart. Makes you wonder why the hell they were chosen for the job. Anyways, introducing the girls: 1) is Rachel (played by Jackie Moore), the ditsy and  promiscuous blonde; 2) is Alex (Ciara Hanna), the ditsy yet tom-boyish blonde (hence the gender bendable name); and, finally, 3) Julia (Emily O’Brien), the practical, reserved and  of course brunette friend. While  exploring the house provided by their employer, they discover a life-sized totem of a small girl completely cast in gold… and go figure, strange things begin to happen. This begins with a drunken night in a Thai club where they meet three handsome  guys (luckily enough the guys are British so they are actually able to communicate) whom they take home and  collectively “dream” of murdering. I must say this one of the better scenes in Pernicious  and  take a moment to give props to Jerami Cruise & Anthony Julio for their eccentric use of blood… which I love. Give me Kill Bill style spurts & spatters all day long! Waking the next day, the girls find their guests, the golden statue, and  all of their gold jewelry missing — a situation they play off far too nonchalant, ending the discussion to go into town because of their hunger.


After that, the movie becomes somewhat uneventful for awhile, missing multiple opportunities for jilts & jumps from the audience… this is a thriller, yes?… until the statue returns as a living apparition. What could be the creepiest part of Pernicious is portrayed by a small girl in gold body paint and  a cheap gold wig which becomes noticeably loose during a struggle with one of the girls like something out a Scary Movie parody. The ghost of the girl leads them to a Thai witch doctor which has me wondering if this whole movie could not have been base in New Orleans. Especially considering the only parts of Thailand shown closely resemble a Louisiana swamp other than the marketplace that could easily be replicated anywhere. This would have also nixed some of those pesky plot flaws previously mentioned.


Finally, after quite a bit of minuscule build up, the back story of the golden statue (or Kumari) is revealed. Just when I think “That’s actually a pretty cool concept”… they take off running with it. A seemingly simple and  chilling legend has so many elements added one after another that it becomes muddled and  almost confusing. So, overall, I found Pernicious lacking in what I look for in a thriller. If you’re going to make a bad horror film, then do it intentionally for those of us who thoroughly enjoy a good laugh coupled with a good scare. Between the bouncing plot and  the inability to hold my attention, I have to rate Pernicious a 1 out of 5 rating. It may be harsh but, in my opinion, it was not worth the watch.

Pernicious 1 out of 5 stars (1 / 5)

Pernicious is currently available on Netflix.

Hey there horror nerds! I'm Franki, you're local blood drenched burlesque queen. Raised from a young age by greats such as Lovecraft, Poe, Hitchcock & Price, I have longed for the opportunity to sink my teeth into a career in horror. Throughout school I was a constant concern for teachers when turning in reports on Elizabeth Bathory instead of Amelia Earhart or Stephen King instead of Emily Dickinson. From there I developed what some would call an unhealthy obsession with writing gruesome fiction, to many's surprise even being awarded and published as a teen (despite the unusual subject of my literature). Years after as I continued to write, I lucked out and into independent horror films. My first break being a featured zombie in the Plan 9 remake produced by Dark Stone Entertainment, and brief cameos in a few other not so well know films ;). Throughout all of this, I began to feed another obsession...dance! Belly dance was my introduction into this world and I fell in love immediately. As soon as I had the opportunity to perform, I realized the beautiful possibility that lay in front of me... To combine my love for dance and the macabre! My first solo routine was to "Dead Man's Party" in full zombie make up, while my fellow students went a much more traditional route. I went on to do routines as Jack the Ripper, a vampire concubine, etc and though I was always the odd one out, I was usually a fan favorite. I decided to up the ante! Not only would I infuse horror into belly dance but I would infuse both into burlesque. Grave Dancers were born! I created a horror-themed troupe out of Roanoke, Va where no one would expect it and it was a hit. That was 5 years ago! The troupe is still going strong but I missed the writing aspect of my love of horror. So here I am once again combining two of my loves, horror, and shopping! Thanks to Gruesome Magazine I am now your go-to living dead girl for all the best horror-themed products and websites! I seek them out and bring them to you because we all know you can never have enough cool and unique horror merch!