The directorial debut of horror producer Brian Yuzna, this low-budget shocker was an overseas success but sat on the shelf for three years before gaining a U.S. release. Billy Warlock stars as Bill Whitney, the troubled scion of a wealthy Beverly Hills family. Feeling like an outcast his entire life, Bill begins seeing Dr. Cleveland (Ben Slack), a therapist who's trying to help him reconcile his conflicted feelings about his parents, who seem to lavish more attention on his sister Jenny (Patrice Jennings). Bill then discovers that his doubts have more of a foundation in reality than simple teen angst. After he receives a copy of an audio tape of horrific sounds at Jenny's coming out party, Bill becomes convinced of the existence of a secret "society" of wealthy people preying on outsiders, and that his family is involved. … More
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Critic Reviews for Society
Although Society is at first blemished by its dated humor and contrived teenage self-discovery, we find everything is in service to a truly sensational ending.
An attempt to make a different movie. And yes, it's different indeed but different is far from the same thing as good
Dreary suburban drama with a goopy horror finale, Society seems to be about a whole lot of ideas - when in truth it presents one or two pedestrian concepts and then repeats them ad nauseum.
Audience Reviews for Society
A weird but enjoyable tale that pokes fun at the inner circles of the rich elite of the Beverly Hills community. The less you know about this one the better but it's a film that's worth a watch at least once. Special mention also to make-up effects artist Screaming Mad George for his creative and grotesque work. Make sure you finish what you're eating well before the end!More
Billy Whitney is a troubled kid who's seeing a shrink because of his fear of loved ones and those that are close, which he has a hard time fitting in with his wealthy family as he feels he doesn't belong with them. He's also a student at Beverly Hills Academy who's running for president and is dating the head cheerleader, so things aren't all bad. Although things suddenly change for the worse when Billy's Sister's ex-boyfriend convinces him there's something strange about his family. Now Billy gets pulled into a very frightening world that's filled with surreal images and where the paranoia is finally tearing him apart. But what's to come for Billy will be more shocking than what he can comprehend.
After watching a horror-mystery the day before I decided to put my teeth into another, Yuzna's 'Society'. You'll think that Society comes across as usual pure 80's trash in the very cheesy kind. And it does look like that and actually descends into that pattern. But firstly the way it started off you might think otherwise, as it does open proceedings rather eerily with an tight prologue and then a haunting tune through the opening credits, but soon it takes a real sharp turn from its beginning and heads into familiar 80's horror territory, with the usual corny dialogue, gratuitous nudity, camp performances and over-the-top humour. Although when it comes to the final 20 minutes or so, you totally are blown off your feet and possibly are in a state of bemusement. During this stage it turns disturbing and rather disgusting, while there's classical music streaming along. I know that I was left with a bewildered impression on my face and I would be surprised if you don't get the same feeling too. Meaning it's a good idea to make sure your not eating when coming up towards the film's perverted climax.
The odd but fun story does play out like a teen flick with nice amount of mystery and yep I say it, satire. This story has more to it and that shows in the hidden agendas and subtle dialog that all seems to come together perfectly. On a second viewing you would easily pick up on these hints within the script. You got your sick in-jokes, lame pun and plain wicked tone. Back onto the satire now, which this story is an allegory on the rich looking down on the less privilege and finally screwing over the poor. These amusing pot-attacks are scattered across the story, while also worked into the mystery side of the story with Billy trying to figure what's going on and what's this 'society' is. Some moments you see have you contemplating if what he sees is a figment of his imagination. The reason why you question this is because his seeing a shrink so is it just in his head or is this nightmare for real. This is presented in a very good manner and that's because of the man behind the camera.
Brian Yuzna who produced the great 'Re-animator (1985)' makes his directorial debut here and does an extraordinary job. No real atmosphere is generated, but he paces it with such elasticity that there's no labouring about and he ups the suspense with assured handling and control. The humour and horror balance is a bit uneven, at times it felt oddly out of place, but it doesn't destroy the fun mood. Camera placement is rather sharp and well executed, with a nice eye for shots and moods. Going with it all is a likable heroine played by Billy Warlock from 'Bay watch' fame. While, the rest of the acting is nothing out of the norm for a film like this. Everyone was effective in their parts and contributed to the enjoyment that followed. The production is incredibly slick and that's evident by the locations and Screaming Mad George's mind-blowing special effects. Those messed up effects that come out of the blue are what makes this film memorable in its inevitable outcome!
There's nothing really creepy about this real jokey 80's horror flick, but when it gets to the ending credits you'll be left with one real lasting impression? I assure you!
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