Fantasia 2018: Hurt

A woman spends Halloween night with her PTSD-suffering husband in Hurt. It is Halloween night in the small town of New Caney, Texas and Rose (Emily Van Raay) is reunited with her husband Tommy (Andrew Creer), who has just returned from the war. After spending some time with Rose’s sister Lily (Stephanie Moran) and her husband Mark (Bradley Hamilton), Rose and Tommy head off together to the annual Halloween carnival. However, something has been off with Tommy’s behaviour since he has come back.

In the opening moments of Hurt, from writer/director Sonny Mallhi (Anguish), it appears that we are going to be in for a highly stylized slasher film, involving a woman pursued by killers in Cherub masks. However, it turns out to be a film-within-the-film being watched by two boys, who comment how the story “would be scarier if it were true.” This sets the stage for the actual story of the film, where Rose is set to learn the true meaning of what it it is like to be scared, on the night she is reunited with her heavily traumatized husband Tommy.

For at least the first two thirds of its running time, Hurt is a film that could be better described as more of a drama than a horror film, with Tommy trying to put on a normal face and spend Halloween night with his wife Lily. However, the film then takes a fully horror turn with the emergence of a masked killer, who begins to pursue Rose. Ultimately, I have to say that Hurt gives a mixed message about people with PTSD, whether intentional or not, and its efforts to circumvent the tropes of slasher films can come off as a bit mean spirited.