From IndieWire: While ’90s American cinema tends to play up the legacies of auteur superpowers like Tarantino and PTA, Larry Fessenden deserves just as much appreciation. Ever since his 1995 breakout “Habit,” Fessenden has combined a scrappy New York filmmaking aesthetic with genuine frights, and “Depraved” is a welcome return to those roots. A tense, dramatic retelling of “Frankenstein” with modern-day concerns, the movie stars David Call as a surgeon and Iraq war vet roped into performing experiments on a corpse to bring it back to life. When he’s successful, the monster (played by a lanky, corpse-like Alex Breaux) develops a natural curiosity about the world around him, even as he grows cynical about the people teaching him what to do. At once an indictment of technology and the quest to control the natural order, “Depraved” makes the case that Fessenden should really make movies more often, because these troubled times benefit from his spooky voice.
The Great Larry Fessenden [Episode 26]
Larry Fessenden is an American director, producer, writer, actor, and overall force to be reckoned with. A true indie film pioneer in the horror world, Larry’s career highlights include 1995’s gritty vampire drama, Habit, 2001’s Wendigo, and The Last Winter, Starring Ron Perlman.
Larry’s latest movie, Depraved, is a gritty and modern take on Frankenstein with a number of interesting questions posed about the ethics of scientific advancements in medicine.
From Ricardo Serrano Denis, The Beat: It’s unfair to view Fessenden as a master of storytelling on a budget. The things he brings to his movies should not be taken as simple adjustments predicated by the amount of money he has to work with. Fessenden’s strengths lie in his ideas on what makes a great film, and they are especially noteworthy because they make for great storytelling regardless of how big or small a budget is available. Depraved is a good example of this and further cements Fessenden as a master of storytelling.
Read full review HERE
From Kim Newman, Fright Fest: Like all of Fessenden’s films, it’s richly imagined and layered, demanding repeat viewings, with much material of his own stirred into that inherited from the source text – Henry names his creature Adam, like the Frankenstein analogue did on Dark Shadows, for obvious, Miltonic reasons, but later we learn there’s another, more contemporary spur to his choice. Breaux is a particularly strong Frankenstein Monster, sporting scars and braces, with a look evolving from a Hammer take (bald head, brain surgery sutures) to something closer to the Universal archetype (back from one of his graves in muddy Karloff clothes with foreshortened arms, he even walks and poses like the classic screen monster). Unfashionably, but in keeping with the very male tone of the novel, women are on the sidelines, kept out of the intricate struggles between creator and created, but Fessenden is incapable of writing a flat character and there are vivid little roles for Frankenstein’s girlfriend Liz (Ana Kayne), the girl the monster’s brain remembers (Chloe Levine), Polidori’s ruthless wife (Maria Dizza) and doomed but distinctive bar girl Shelley (Addison Timlin).
Read full review HERE
From Slant: What does a Frankenstein figure look like in 2019? According to Larry Fessenden’s Depraved, he’s a guy with war-addled, once-noble intentions set adrift by male ego and shady benefactors. He’s a white man grasping for control in a world coming apart, a cog in a machine who hasn’t broken free so much as changed the machine’s function—from that of war to that of the pharmaceutical industry. The film, Fessenden’s first feature as both writer and director since 2006’s The Last Winter, paints multiple psychological portraits that are sad, angry, and strangely beautiful. It shows us the mind of not just PTSD-afflicted field surgeon Henry (David Call), but also that of his prototypical sewn-together “monster,” Adam (Alex Breaux), and his assistant and Big Pharma bankroller, Polidori (Joshua Leonard). Throughout, the film remains firmly focused on its thesis of Frankenstein as a lens for examining modern society. Fessenden catalogues what personalities and power dynamics have shifted and what hasn’t changed at all. He diagnoses the rot of our era through these solipsistic men that pour their prejudices and their insecurities into Adam, an open book eventually read back to its authors with a violence they cultivated themselves.
Fessenden’s DEPRAVED: MAKING FRANKENSTEIN IN A BROOKLYN LOFT at The Brooklyn Horror Film Festival Saturday 10.19.19 at 4:50PM
October 19, 2019
Saturday, 4:50PM to 6:30PM
From Rue Morgue: Depraved marks Larry Fessenden’s return to the director’s chair following 2013’s Beneath. In his latest feature, Fessenden gives a contemporary spin on the Frankenstein tale, just as he’d updated the vampire film in Habit (1995), taking the Gothic trappings and setting to modern day Brooklyn and New York, and with a doctor, Henry (played by David Call), whose ambition to reanimate the dead stems from his failure to save lives while working as a field surgeon overseas. Here, the director speaks about the new movie, the monster, Adam (portrayed by Alex Breaux), and the themes that drive him forward as a filmmaker.
Tomorrow is the last day to see DEPRAVED in theaters.
Depraved is set to open in the following locations, starting this FRIDAY:
Chalmette Cinemas 9
The Loft Cinema
Coolidge Corner Theatre
Alamo Drafthouse Mueller 6
Alamo Drafthouse Park North
San Antonio, TX
Alamo Drafthouse La Vista
with this update to his 2012 mashup of 25 Frankenstein Films,
now including images from DEPRAVED.