New Horror Releases: Limbo (2020) - Reviewed

Well, Limbo certainly lives up to its name, as I’d rather be stuck in Limbo than have to watch this again.

Limbo mostly plays out like a courtroom drama where the verdict is whether or not one Jimmy Florence should be allowed into heaven or sentenced to Hell. The idea is interesting, with angels Balthazar and Cassiel providing the prosecution and defense respectively, but this film really does not know what to do with its premise. There are occasions where it slips in to noir and comedy, and even makes an attempt at being heartfelt, but absolutely nothing lands. 

Jimmy wakes up in a dreary, smokey office room with his last memory being robbing a pawn shop. Enter Balthazar, a younger man in an ill-fitting suit who looks like he has no desire to be there (it’s hard to tell whether that’s acting or the actor really did not want to be in this movie). Balthazar tells Jimmy that it is his job to determine whether or not Jimmy led a life that was deserving of the pearly gates or eternal hellfire.

Jimmy must meet with and discuss several witnesses to his life. His mother and father, the pawn shop employees, and his apartment neighbor. This could have been where Limbo does some interesting things, having Jimmy reflect on his life and interacting with these characters as he last saw them, but it instead fumbles it’s way through with such a lack of grace that there is no enjoyment to be had. These characters are all walking stereotypes: junkie mother, abusive father, the pawn shop owner was a loving mother and grandmother, of course. The film tries to present Jimmy with several chances of finding redemption but it just keeps digging his character in to a deeper hole. He is just so unlikable, that even the “twist” ending does not bring any satisfaction. 

I just came for the sandwiches! Will there be sandwiches?! I'm hungry as hell. 

Speaking of the twist,  it makes absolutely no sense. The main source of Jimmy’s redemption is presented as his neighbor, a young woman being pimped out to make a living. Jimmy forms a small bond with this girl who turns to him for comfort whenever her pimp abuses her. The redemption arc is a poorly presented slog that takes Limbo out of it’s most interesting setting. The redemption arc storyline is riddled with plot holes that just further emphasize why Limbo would have probably been better off as a short film.

Nothing very interesting or exciting happens during Limbo. If you want to hear every cliche line about hell you can think of, including “see you in hell!” then Limbo might be the movie for you. Otherwise it is probably in your best interest to steer clear. Vile characters, goofy plot holes, and a flat ending make Limbo one that you might be forced to watch should you ever find yourself in Hell. 

- Neil Hazel