Ryan Oksenberg (Damage Control) returns with Together, a genre thriller that is one-part horror, one-part comedy, one-part family drama, and 100 percent fun. Who would have thought a zombie film template would so seamlessly combine with a narrative about biohazard removal?

Following a prologue of a man (David Otten) attacking a couple in the woods, the attention shifts to Julia (Arielle Hader), a young woman who runs a small biohazard cleaning service and lives in a trailer park. Julia is haunted by childhood memories of her father’s alleged suicide, a trauma that is exacerbated as she takes care of her ailing mother (Karin Collison).

After accepting a cleaning job cleaning up after a murder-suicide in a suburban home, one of her workers quits in a hilarious exchange of dialogue. Short for time, she reaches out to a Clayton (Clayton Ferris), an unknown freelance technician. He soon shows up for work, but Julia can tell there’s something off about him. He appears sick, which he brushes off as allergies. She also asks if he took this job since he’s a gorehound.

In a telling scene, we see how each person approaches their duties. Julia carefully removes pieces of skull and brain matter from the living room by the book, disposing of waste in a biohazard container. Clayton, on the other hand, goes to town slurping up blood and guts as if he’s at an all-you-can-eat buffet. This leads to a gruesomely funny outcome, that’s best suited for viewers with strong stomachs—and gag reflexes.

This balance of hilarity and horror works well in characterizing the two main characters. As obscene as Clayton’s appetite can be, he’s not the only person with secrets. Julia collects suicide notes and replaces them with fake ones she’s written that are less heartbreaking for grieving families.

The underlying themes of grief and repressed emotional trauma give Together an emotional weight. We can see a clear connection as to why Julia makes the choices she does. Following the completion of the job, Julia is then faced with a startling personal revelation. Even if all the character arcs and thematic threads don’t perfect coalesce, Oksenberg creates a compelling narrative from an otherwise tired horror template.

Rating: 9 out of 10 stars


Runtime: 1 hr 30 Mins.
Directed By:

Ryan Oksenberg

Written By:

Ryan Oksenberg

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About the Author

Sean Woodard serves as the Film Editor for Drunk Monkeys and a Co-Producer of the faith and spirituality podcast, Ordinary Grace. Focusing on a wide variety of interests, Sean’s fiction, film criticism, and other writings have been featured in Los Angeles Review of Books, NonBinary Review, Horrorbuzz, Cultured Vultures, and Los Angeles Magazine, among other publications. He is currently a doctoral student at University of Texas at Arlington.
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