One of the many movies hitting SXSW this year, Appendage follows Hannah (Hadley Robinson), a promising fashion designer in a loving relationship and a best friend as close as a sister. However, beneath the picturesque facade, she is plagued by self-doubt and overwhelming anxiety that has become a literal pain in her side, resulting in a festering wound on an existing birthmark.
Her every thought is negative, she takes every criticism heavily, and she cannot catch a break from her narcissistic mother. When the weight of suppressing her emotions becomes unbearable, she births a grotesque, parasitic twin from the wound on her side. Hannah’s newly liberated “appendage” is her biggest bully and feeds off her every insecurity and says every hateful word she’s ever held back.
Appendage is written and directed by Anna Zlokovich. It stars Emily Hampshire (Schitt’s Creek), Kausar Mohammed, and Brandon Mychal Smith alongside Robinson. It was first introduced as a short film, of the same name, on Hulu as part of the second season of 20th Digital’s Bite Size Halloween.
Appendage is a bit of body horror, a little horror comedy, and a creature feature as well. Zlokovich makes excellent use of her characters, their dialogue, the setting, and our gnarly little friend to keep us glued to the screen. Imagine having a corporeal form of all your self-doubt judging your every move. Just as in real life, there are often no bandaids or quick guides to “therapy” your way out of an anxiety attack. But maybe there is a support group for this sort of thing? Of course there is.
Appendage is funny, dark, and a little gross, so of course, I enjoyed it. It premieres at SXSW on March 11th, with a later release in the Fall on Hulu.