Spoilers might spill out of the bag.
This was not in my original list, but boy I am glad I changed my plans. I ended up adding this to my list after watching the trailer, not by what was shown but by what was hidden. I had a conflict in my schedule that prevented me from seeing the opening screening. When the second screening collided with another movie in my list, well… I had to make a choice which film to see and which to give up. 8 was my choice, and I have no regrets.
8 was written and directed by Harold Holscher. The story takes place somewhere in South Africa, where a couple is taking possession of a farm. Along for the ride is their adoptive daughter Mary (Keita Luna). Soon they will meet a wandering man by the name of Lazarus (Tshamano Sebe) who carries a large sack, and an even bigger burden. The couple, William Zeil (Garth Breytenbach) and Sarah Zeil (Inge Beckmann) learn that Lazarus was William’s father old farm hand and that he’s not particularly loved by the nearby villagers.
Lazarus is no doubt the most interesting character in the film. He’s incredibly kind to Mary and trusted by William. Sarah, instead, can’t shake the notion that Lazarus is not all that he seems. As it should be obvious, 8 is not about the numeral but the ∞ character that represents infinity. Lazarus lost his daughter and made an unholy pact to get her back, but was cursed to feed souls to the entity that he must carry around. Honestly, I could watch a movie focused solely on his character. Tshamano Sebe delivers a strong stand-out performance, not of an evil, corrupted man but of a tortured father that does what he must even if he goes too far. Keita Luna shines in the role of Mary, a young girl almost too intelligent for her age and yet that makes her a three-dimensional character. A Hollywood horror movie would make her oblivious to what’s going on or turn her into a self-absorbed insolent kid.
Highly recommended for fans of folklore horror and horror in general. The demon entity that Lazarus carries is terrifying but it’s Tshamano Sebe’s performance as the tortured father that must carry a curse for the rest of his life that truly becomes the heart of this film. The movie is good about setting the tone from the start. It does feel the need to add some jump scares to remind you where this is going, which is not necessary but it doesn’t detract too much. I found the image of a wandering soul traveling under a curse rather haunting, specially in such a mystical setting. Don’t forget to take your bags with you.
That will do for now.