All That We Destroy Review- What’s a Mom to Do?

All That We Destroy- A Performance.

So I know I’ve been gone for a while. I’m sorry. But I have a great but spoilery review of Into the Dark’s newest installment: All That We Destroy. First though, a little song.

*Taps Mic*
*Cues up City High’s What Would You Do?*

Ahem!

What would you do if your son was at home
Murdering girls on his bedroom floor
Cus he’s crazy?
And the only way to stop him is to
Clone his victim and completely
Wipe her memory
And his daddy’s gone
Skyping through your mind (yeah)
Telling you you’re blind (yeah)
Saying this aint right (yeah).
See for you this is just a good time,
But for me, this is what I call life! (Listen)

What’s On Your “Disown You” List?

(Spoilers Ahead!)

Okay, so maybe that’s not the horrific scenario City High was rapping about back in 2001, but All That We Destroy presents a different kind of maternal woe. What would you do if your son was a sociopath? Honestly, I’ve actually given this question some thought. If and when I have children, there will be very few things they can do that I won’t stand by them for. Namely, be a rapist, a pedophile, or a serial killer. See? Already the boy in All That We Destroy is violating my list by embodying number three, but lucky for him, his mother doesn’t have the same “disown you” list as I do.

A Mother’s Dread

Into the Dark is a fascinating anthology by Hulu and Blumehouse productions where every month they premier a new horror movie centered around a holiday from that month. This May they chose to focus on Mother’s Day and gave us what I think is the best from the anthology so far. All That We Destroy tells the story of Dr. Victoria Harris, a geneticist who is desperately trying to find a way to assuage her son’s serial killer tendencies. It doesn’t take long for the audience to see that Spencer is a lost cause, but we watch as his mother tries and tries to help what most of us would give up on. To me, it’s one of the tragedies of being a mother—being forced to love what may be un-loveable.

All that We Destroy mother's dread
Victoria watches Spencer Kill Ashley. All that We Destroy

Victoria’s answer is to continuously clone her son’s original victim, Ashley, so that he can kill her over and over again, thus sating his murderous desires. The only problem is that it doesn’t work. She doesn’t feel real. So Victoria must interact with Clone-Ashley until she becomes more human-like and thus more desirable for Spencer to murder.

It’s a sick and awesome premise but what intrigued me was that Victoria wasn’t just a mother to Spencer. While coaching Clone-Ashley on how to be more human-like, Victoria became a mother figure to her as well. It made what we knew what would happen to her all the more brutal and heartless, but it also showed just how far a mom will go for her kid.

Theta Kappa Killer

This installment of Into the Dark played like a less sci-fi episode of Black Mirror. The technology, while still at the center of the horror we were witnessing, wasn’t the ultimate cause of it—a mother’s love was. I say that without taking rightful blame away from the fucked up serial killer son of course. Ultimately, Spencer is the one with the sickness here, but there is also a sickness in aiding someone in exercising their deadly impulses. There’s a part in the movie where Victoria is talking to her ex-husband and expresses that she thinks if Spencer kills the clone Annie enough, he may get well enough to go off to college.

All That We Destroy

“Soulja Boy voice* College!?!?COLLEGE!?!?!? What fraternity is he gonna pledge? Theta Kappa Killer?

She was really prepared to unleash this psycho ass Ted Bundy wannabe onto the community. Boy, when I tell you the white woman jumped OUT. How is this a good idea, Peggy????

An Acceptable Victim

Anyway, I didn’t have many problems with the movie itself. It was a well-told story and I don’t think it was trying to be anything other than what it was. The screenwriter in me, however, wondered about how the movie would have been different if it was told from a different perspective. As the movie stands, we get everyone’s point of view, Victoria’s, Spencer’s, Ashley’s and the annoying neighbor girl who eventually plays a significant role. But I kept wondering about what the movie would have been like if we only got  Clone-Ashley’s perspective or only Victoria’s. I think this because it almost seemed like the movie wanted us to sympathize with Spencer, which I refused to do. But then again, maybe they only wanted us to feel for him so that we could better understand Victoria’s actions?

All That We Destroy Ashley Final Girl
All That We Destroy Ashley Final Girl

Ultimately, I think they made the right choice in whose perspective to show us and when, but I do wish we would have gotten more of Ashley (clone or otherwise). The little we know of her (the original not the clone) doesn’t paint her in a good light and I wonder if that is so we feel less sympathy for her as a victim. I hope that wasn’t the intention because that would be delving into making Ashley an “acceptable victim” which she is not. I don’t know if this is a popular term in film, but I use this phrase to describe people in movies that we’re okay with seeing dying. Obviously, the villain or bad guy is an acceptable victim. So are rapists, wife-abusers, anyone who hurts kids or dogs, and sometimes murderers.

Ashley is not an acceptable victim. It’s implied that she robbed a bank, but we haven’t seen her do anything to warrant the fate she’s dealt. I think a little more time should have been spent on her seeing as how she is the one who suffers the most in the movie. But then again, I always have a soft spot for final girls.

Final Thoughts on All That We Destroy

There aren’t a lot of people that I would put below the girl in the City High song on the list of people I’d switch places with, but the mom in All That We Destroy is definitely a few dozen spots behind her. When I tell you mama was STRESSED. And who wouldn’t be having to hide the freaking Zodiac killer in your house and pray he doesn’t get out while you’re in a business meeting? All That We Destroy forces you to ask yourself what lengths you would go to for your child. Could you love a child bent on destruction? Would you stomach his reprehensible actions at the cost of others? What would you do?

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Check out the trailer below:

-Jessica
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