Having cut his teeth producing Stuart Gordon’s celebrated H.P. Lovecraft adaptations, Brian Yuzna aims for the same audience with Society, his directorial debut. Its turbo-charged sex drive and comic body horror will be familiar to fans of Re-Animator and From Beyond, but unlike his work with Gordon, with Society Yuzna appears to have giddily assembled a special effects crew before he even hired screenwriters.
The plot, such as it is, follows a high school basketball star named Bill Whitney who is paranoid that his well-to-do family and its exclusive social scene have a sinister secret. After Bill’s evidence of his increasingly strange experiences repeatedly evaporates, the scope of the conspiracy is finally revealed in a dazzling finale.
Commanding 25% of the film’s runtime and probably 90% of its resources, this final act is clearly Society’s reason for being, and it is a memorably bizarre triumph of icky ingenuity. But it won’t really resonate any more with someone who watched the film from the beginning than it will with someone who tuned in late, because the narrative it’s supposed to be built on is hollow. Apart from its weak attempt at satirizing class warfare, the big scene is essentially a standalone gross-out epic whose gifts are entirely visceral, and most of what precedes it is clumsily made filler.