Baghead, it’s not good.

When the chilling, phenomenally captivating séance thriller Talk to Me raised the spirits of horror fans across the globe last year with its masterfully suspenseful exploration of the profound perils and paralyzing pitfalls of communing with the deceased, it set an extraordinarily high bar for any subsequent cinematic endeavors to channel our departed loved ones without succumbing to the same shopworn tropes that have haunted the genre since time immemorial.

Perhaps such a supremely ominous challenge proved too daunting for director Alberto Corredor, whose new film Baghead fails profoundly to resurrect the stunning power, emotional intricacy, and penetrating insight that characterized its predecessor’s séance scenes even as it exhumes their superficial trappings.

For while Baghead’s central concept initially shows glimmers of promise, any hopes for innovation soon find themselves buried alive under an avalanche of yawning clichés and glaring logical missteps soon after the opening credits fade to black.

When we first meet our protagonist Iris, aimlessly adrift after the death of her father and the resulting financial perils that have pitilessly hounded her into unemployment’s bleak abyss, she receives word of her sudden inheritance of her estranged father’s decrepit 400-year old pub in Berlin, ominously dubbed “The Queen’s Head” despite its evidently confusing transplantation onto German soil.

Baghead movie
Still image from Baghead

Upon her first night rattling around its creaking, cobwebbed confines, a brooding bereavement case named Neil offers Iris a sack brimming with cash if she will allow him to utilize the pub’s supernatural centerpiece to make contact with his dearly departed – an ominous hostage dubbed “Baghead,” a sinister figure eternally condemned to dwell in the shadowed basement with naught but a burlap mask to hide its true faceless form.

Soon Iris discovers the long, lunatic history surrounding the profits and mounting perils tied to this otherworldly phantom, for her foolhardy father often allowed visitors to harness Baghead’s eerie abilities to speak across the grave with their deceased loved ones, opening doors that should have remained forever sealed and ignoring the dire warnings to avoid meddling with forces beyond human comprehension, ultimately paying the ultimate price for his hubris in a visceral cautionary tale that briefly revives the film’s pulse…

Intrigued by the prospect of financial salvation, Iris pushes her misgivings aside and agrees to several supervised spiritual sessions with this faceless specter alongside her intrepid sidekick Katie, who has arrived to support her friend amidst this macabre predicament she has unwittingly inherited alongside the pub itself.

For a few fleeting moments as Baghead’s eerie powers manifest, as its formless facade takes on the visage of the smiling dead to offer their bereaved relatives a temporary sense of closure, Corredor’s film flashes raw promise even as it courts primordial danger. Yet any mounting suspense soon collapses as the utter absence of innovation or originality in the proceedings becomes agonizingly apparent.

Where Talk to Me delivered profound insights into grief and loss amidst its atmospheric thrills, Baghead’s emotional vacuum elicits little investment in its paper-thin protagonists.

As the lifeless plot limps along an all-too-familiar trajectory, the pub’s backstory, once intrigue-inducing, swiftly grows repetitive amidst the barrage of belabored rule reminders, each tiresome warning against breaching Baghead’s basement domain serving only to foreground the absurd lapses in logic required to justify how such supernatural perils could be contained so haphazardly beneath a dingy Berlin bar for centuries. The premise grows all the more untenable once eerie happenings begin materializing upstairs as well, making a mockery of the oft-repeated admonitions that supposedly safeguard the foolish living from the fury of this unleashed underworld denizen.

YouTube video

Perhaps if Baghead itself manifested any semblance of an intriguing personality rather than remaining a mute, passive prisoner devoid of menace or motivation, some investment might take root. But it merely waits silently below, available to issue any canned clairvoyant message the script demands to keep the mangled plot lurching forward.

Some effectively skin-crawling visuals and jump scares briefly arise in the first act, like flickering candles casting phantom shadows that leave the viewer questioning whether a ghostly visitor has joined the scene. But such artfully ambiguous moments soon fade as the hokey revelations pile up, the tension hemorrhaging away until the film itself seems but a lifeless husk, its final twists providing too little, too late to revive what has become an utter creative catastrophe.

In the end Corredor’s feature seems destined to spend eternity buried in the bargain DVD bin purgatory to which all artistically bankrupt horror flicks are damned, awaiting some future cinematic resurrection that may finally exhume its untapped potential. But unlike Baghead itself, such a prospect seems less than hauntingly likely…

Baghead flounders as a repetitive, derivative addition to the supernatural horror genre. What begins as an enticing excavation of a chilling concept rapidly devolves into the burial ground of creativity, smothered by illogical plot points, shallow characters, and a litany of squandered opportunities.

For all its formidable foundations – a rich historical backstory, an iconic entity at its core, some sporadically spooky visuals – Corredor’s film tragically fails to construct a compelling structure. We may never see the true specter at Baghead’s core thanks to the restrictive burlap visage it can never remove, but perhaps that proves fitting for a film unable to lift its own mask to reveal some semblance of originality or narrative coherence beneath the surface scares. In the end, while far from an abysmal misfire, Baghead unequivocally lacks the imagination to channel anything freshly frightening.

It will surely find its place in the bargain bin of eternity, awaiting the day its untapped potential may finally be set free. But unlike its storied protagonist, this film won’t be rising from the grave any time soon.