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Still from '8' trailer on YouTube.

Netflix’s ‘8’ Is a Win for South African Horror

Review: With films like '8', it appears the South African film industry may be ripe for a folk-horror renaissance.

The recurring words spoken in Harold Holscher's new Netflix horror 8 are ''moths'' and ''worms.'' These things are weaved into the film's horror infrastructure, not necessarily as elements to gross out viewers, but as allegories about death and transfiguration. Coming off the back of previous shorts that embrace dark themes, 8 arrives on Netflix as Holscher's full-length feature debut following its film festival run. The South African writer-director goes for high impact, pushing this South African folkloric chiller into the creepiest, darkest places.

Whether or not 8 succeeds in doing this is a question that might annoy horror die-hards looking for more inventive scares. Establishing atmosphere and tone right away, the opening frame shows a sickly, pale-faced elderly man lying in bed, he then reclines into his death when a mysterious man and his evil spawn of a companion come to take his soul. Considering this happens in broad daylight, the scare is rather effective. Holscher, using low camera angles to reveal the intruder, casts him as nothing more than a dark, faceless silhouette—a shot that highlights the director's technical dexterity.

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