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SXSW Review: A Feature Grows Out of a Short Film in Hulu’s ‘Malevolent Evil Twin Movie ‘Appendage’

Appendage SXSW Hulu
Credit: Powell Robinson

Intrusive thoughts, depression, anxiety and a mind controlling evil monster twin are in the forefront of Hulu’s new film ‘Appendage.’ It’s the feature film based off of Hulu’s Bite Size Halloween series short with the same name.

Hannah, a young fashion designer, seems fine on the surface, but secretly struggles with debilitating self-doubt. Soon these buried feelings begin to make Hannah physically sick and sprout into a ferocious growth on her body: the appendage. As Hannah’s health declines, the appendage grows more powerful and begins to fuel her anxieties – her perceived lack of talent at work, her deteriorating relationships with her boyfriend and best friend, and her parents’ lack of love and understanding. At her breaking point, Hannah makes a shocking discovery— there are others out there like her.

‘Appendage’ is full of body horror and tiny creatures. Hannah can’t take the stress of her career, her mother’s constant nagging and her new romantic relationship. Her anxieties begin to boil to the surface as a protruding boil on her side. Worried Hannah goes to seek medical attention only to find out that she may be experiencing a phantom twin syndrome. Unable to get a straight answer from her parents, Hannah’s condition worsens until the growth gets bigger and detaches from her body. The appendage is delightfully gross and almost cute in a sick twisted way. There are some humorous moments but this film plays straight most of the time for being called a hour comedy. 

The characters in this film are interesting but don’t have room to really develop. The story feels rushed, which is unfortunate because there is so much to this story that could be explored. Emily Hampshire of Schitt’s Creek was a welcome refreshing face on the big screen. But, I wanted more. Maybe it’s not fair for me to want more, but if she was the comedic relief I definitely needed more of her and her genius.

Hadley Robinson’s (Hannah) performance felt real. Her struggle with her mental health, hiding a literal part of herself and trying to act normal doing day to day tasks. That all felt like something we has humans, have all felt at one point in our lives. Her desperate attempts to find answers, look to the ones she trusts for acceptance only to be brushed off as crazy also felt real. All of the actors in this film were great, I just kept thinking I wanted just a little bit more. I wanted to see these characters really develop. 

‘Appendage’ tackles the serious subject of mental health and tries to be funny at times, but feels more like a mockery than a fun commentary of the subject. The special effects are fantastic though. The creatures have their moments of growing and morphing and create some unnerving imagery. Watching the cycle of the appendage was one of the best parts of the film. A metaphor for allowing our intrusive thoughts to become bigger than ourselves. To take on a life of its own and take control. 

Be on the lookout for ‘Appendage’ full length feature when it streams on Hulu. While you wait you can get a taste of the short ‘Appendage’ on Hulu’s bite size halloween series. 

Appendage SXSW Hulu
SXSW Review: A Feature Grows Out of a Short Film in Hulu’s ‘Malevolent Evil Twin Movie ‘Appendage’