‘The Spine of Night’ (2022) Review: A Brutal Adult Animation That Blends Violence and Dark Magic
The Spine of Night, written and directed by Morgan Galen King and Philip Gelatt, is an intense animated feature that travels through centuries to tell the story of a powerful and magical plant that falls into the wrong hands. The film blends rotoscope animation with images of ultra-violence to present how people in a higher power are corrupted beyond repair. The Spine of Night is an adventurous movie with beautiful landscapes and detailed animation.
The film follows Tzod (Lucy Lawless), a swamp witch, who wears bones on her head and a blue flower on her neck. She treks up in the snowy mountains, but the cold doesn’t bother her. Tzod seeks the Guardian (Richard E. Grant), a being who stands at the top of the mountain guarding an object. Through different stories, the audience comes to understand a strange and mysterious blue flower holds ancient dark magic and unleashes a dangerous power, which evil scholars, barbarians, and tyrants wish to possess.
The stories in The Spine of Night present themes of betrayal, greed, and sacrifice, and it flows smoothly from one chapter to another. Just because it is animated, does not mean it’s family-friendly. The Spine of Night has scenes of bone-crushing gore that might be uncomfortable, but it may very well be entertaining to some viewers. In one scene, a barbarian by the name of Mongrel (Joe Manganiello) and his troops, crashes into the village of Tzod and murders her people. They slice the helpless people in half and bloodshed and violence spreads through the lands as Tzod and The Guardian must find a way to stop the strange blue flower from unleashing its true powers.
The Spine of Night is an exceptionally beautifully crafted animation and blends themes of violence with horror and fantasy. It has mythical gods, magic, and drama fitting into the world of imagination with psychedelic animation.