Modernizing a classic work of literature or cinema is often times an unenviable task. You can hit a home run but still be second-guessed, or you can completely miss the mark and damage both your reputation and the original at the same time. This was the mission presented before horror genre favorite Larry Fessenden, who took on the Frankenstein mystique with his current film Depraved. Luckily, Fessenden nails the tortured soul saga for today’s uncertain and violent times.
Depraved, which had its premiere at last week’s What The Fest!? at the IFC Center in New York City, presents an interesting take on Mary Shelley’s 1818 literary masterpiece. By bringing it to the big screen with an independent budget, Fessenden (who wrote, produced and directed the Glass Eye Pix production) accomplishes something few other films were able to pull off in recent times: a worthy version of a beloved horror work. What comes to mind to me is the 2010 Italian remake of Tod Browning’s Freaks called Museum of Wonders. Both films can be considered noble successors, though in updating the material to make it more relatable to today Fessenden should be commended. There are dueling messages from the limits of modern science and the race to mimic God, to the horrors of war and the impressions left by those veterans returning to a life considered normal.