Released: 11th March
Seen: 10th May
When picking what I want to review I have several ways of choosing. Sometimes it’s just “Oh, this is new, looks like that’s what we’re doing” but by roughly this point in the year there’s a long backlog of films that I missed because they release hundreds of films a year, I’m one person and I have other things to do. Sometimes I pick based on the film length, I might have enough time to watch and review a 90 minute film but don’t think I could sit through a 2 and a half hour film in whatever state I’m in… and then sometimes I see a film with a title like Stay Out Of The F**king Attic and the sheer abruptness of the title makes me curious.
Stay Out Of The F**king Attic features a trio of movers, Albert Schillinger (Ryan Francis), Imani (Morgan Alexander) and Carlos (Bryce Fernelius). All three of them are ex-cons who are willing to take any job that they can which ends up with them being asked to help the elderly Vern Mueller (Michael Flynn) move everything out of his large and scary looking house.
Vern has only two rules for the movers, the first is that they have to be completely done by the next morning and the second is to stay out of the attic and basement. With these rules established, the trio get started work and soon discover that what might have seemed like eccentricities from Vern might actually be something much more terrifying than they expected.
At first glance, there’s a lot about Stay Out Of The F**king Attic that’s actually interesting. The main horror of Stay Out Of The F**king Attic is the history of Nazism and how it still lingers today. Schillinger in particular is a fascinating character as he’s a former member of the Aryan Brotherhood who still has the tattoos to prove it, but he’s long since renounced their beliefs and is actively trying to make amends (He still has the tattoos because the character claims he doesn’t deserve the clean skin so he keeps them as a reminder of what he refuses to be anymore… which is interesting if nothing else). Vern also has a pointed connection to Nazism but that’s more of a third act reveal so I’m not going to spoil it, but it is a little bit dumb.
Also interesting is that the actual scares in Stay Out Of The F**king Attic lean heavily into that period of history, including a potentially triggering moment involving a shower and Zyklon B. It’s using this imagery pointedly to horrify, which is what this imagery is going to do if you’re a decent human being… problem is it’s not using the imagery to say anything other than “Nazi’s suck, stop being one and be a badass instead” which is certainly accurate, but it’s something you have to take obscenely seriously and this film doesn’t do that. Sadly, it also doesn’t choose to go so far in the opposite direction that it becomes comical, it’s just kind of stuck in the middle.
You can tell Stay Out Of The F**king Attic is clearly leaning into the weird Nazisploitation genre of films by constantly showing us swastikas and having the victims go through Nazi experiments and (INSERT SPOILER ABOUT THE BIG REVEAL RIGHT HERE) but the problem is that it never takes things too far. It’s not so over the top that it becomes amusing, it’s not so deathly serious that it invokes a sense of disgust, it’s just kind of doing Nazism without commenting on it or mocking it.
Even the scares in Stay Out Of The F**king Attic aren’t that great, the shower scene is the only one that had any real effect and even that only works because the phrase “Nazi showers” conjures up the worst atrocities in history and the idea of that happening in a regular suburban bathroom is upsetting… but also kind of stupid, especially with how it’s presented here. They have little henchmen creatures that are also clearly the result of Nazi experiments but they just aren’t that interesting. I should be either laughing at the stupidity of this movie or horrified by how scary it is, as it stands, I’m glad I had coffee to keep me mostly alert throughout because nothing grabbed me.
Then there’s this weird tonal problem going on where it wants to be serious, but also let’s make the two people of colour be the obvious comic relief which is certainly a choice in a film about Nazi’s. Hell, kinda an interesting choice to have a film about the horrors of Nazism and your main heroic character is the former Nazi… and by ‘interesting’ I mean ‘disapointing’. This isn’t to say the core three characters aren’t interesting or compelling, I liked all of them a fair amount, I honestly love the idea of a former white supremacist having to come to terms with his past as the key part of a horror film but they are all acting like they’re in very different films and it just doesn’t work.
With a title like Stay Out Of The F**king Attic you kind of expect a film that’s going to hit you over the head like a sledgehammer, the title implies abrupt shock and horror just from the addition of an obscenity but the film doesn’t back that up. If you’re going to use a curse word in the title or Nazis in the actual content, you had better come with both barrels loaded and ready to go, otherwise you’re just wasting my time. It’s not a truly bad film, it’s not a good film, it’s a little below average and that just hurts more because it’s using extremely loaded iconography but apparently loaded that iconography with blanks so it means nothing. If you want to see a film that takes the Nazi imagery and actually uses it well, go back and watch Overlord.