New Life Review: A Blistering Horror Mystery Packed With Tension [Fantasia Fest 2023] – /Film

The microcosmic nature of “New Life” highlights those suspensefully interpersonal and grippingly savage flourishes of Rosman’s vision. A character study about facing incalculable depression by accepting grim news from doctors and the universe alike — when Rosman’s not unleashing vicious pandemic horror via zombie-like, rage virus patients. Rosman dodges an imbalanced union of subgenres by developing a script so confident in storytelling that hybridizes human experiences versus feral infection terror, funneled through a small-market lens of a one-on-one chase. Elsa’s workaholic cleaner and Jessica’s small-town girl on the run seem so different at the onset, which Rosman wants us to believe. That way, he can beautifully weave their stories of predator and prey together as clues demystify global stakes.

Walger and Erin are phenomenal in their warring roles, grasping the perilous unknown that looms over characters hurtling toward one another like atoms ready to destroy the world upon collision. Walger callously stuffs resentment and sorrow where coworkers can’t see, which makes her private struggles with hand tremors and impaired mobility break our hearts. Erin’s performance is far more dreadfully unaware, as the actress tearfully weeps about just wanting to see the world’s wonders, with the events of “New Life” being her punishment. For how grotesquely monstrous Rosman’s narrative can become, the beating, bleeding heart that pumps vitality onto the screen is toxically mortal. It’s far easier to fear what we can’t see versus the borderline demons covered in boils, puss, and gunk.

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