Polaroid (2019) – Review (with Spoilers)

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Despite Polaroid’s original US premiere being cancelled, and its release, stateside, being in limbo ever since, it’s a bit hard to fathom why.

Despite Polaroid’s original US premiere being cancelled, and its release, stateside, being in limbo ever since, it’s a bit hard to fathom why.

Director(s) Lars Klevberg
Screenplay By Blair Butler
Date Released 9/17/2019
Genre(s) Horror, Thriller
Who Is This For?
  • People Who Like Jump Scares
  • Those Who Like Horror Films Focused On Teens
  • If You Like The Villain Seeking Vengence
Noted Cast
Bird Kathryn Prescott
Connor Tyler Young
Kasey Samantha Logan
Devin Keenan Tracey
Mina Priscilla Quintana
The Entity Javier Botet
Sheriff Pembroke Mitch Pileggi
Tyler Davi Santos
Avery Katie Stevens
Lena Grace Zabriskie
Sarah Madelaine Petsch
Roland Joseph Sable Rhys Bevan John
Rebecca Jane Sable Emily Power

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Plot Summary/ Review (with Spoilers)

Bird is a young, slightly aloof, girl who, due to a mark on her neck, from a car accident that happened when she was 12, wears a scarf all the time. As you can imagine, she is teased for it, but don’t let her being teased and introverted paint the picture she doesn’t have friends. From Tyler to Kasey, maybe even Kasey’s friends Mina and Devin, it isn’t like she is longing for company.

However, one day Tyler comes to the antique shop Bird works at and hands her an SX-70 Polaroid Camera. One which is operational, despite being discontinued in the 70s and Bird proves it works by taking Tyler’s picture. Thus begins the series of deaths which happen all because of Bird hitting a little red button.

But, who is the killer and are they getting revenge or are simply psycho? Well, that’s revealed on the second page.

Other Noteworthy Facts & Moments

  • If watching this for Madelaine Petsch or Katie Stevens, know they do not have a large role in the film. Petsch is solely seen in the beginning, in a Drew Barrymore a la Scream, kind of role, and Katie Stevens in the middle for less than 7 minutes.


The Story Behind The Entity

Let me begin by saying, when told the reason behind the entities’ existence, at first, it not only makes sense, but you support the motive. Especially as you learn about Rebecca Sable and the part she plays in all of this. However, then Sheriff Pembroke presents his side and being that you don’t have someone to clarify who is telling the truth or not, this brings a little bit of intrigue to the film. The kind where, if the reason behind Rebecca deciding to kill herself was fleshed out more, this could have had the kind of story which had some ambiguity to its villain and maybe made you wonder what was the truth? If not, to a certain degree, be on the killer’s side.

A Decent Amount Of Jump Scares

While the film does have cheap jump scares, meaning the killer comes out of nowhere after the score is muted, they still get you, and they will get you good. I watched this during the day and still popped up in my seat a handful of times. So if that is what you are watching this for, and you don’t have a high tolerance for jump scares, this is for you.


You Likely Won’t Connect With The Characters

Outside of learning a tidbit about Bird’s father, you don’t really get to know anything about this assortment of kids beyond who is dating who, crushes on who, and that Kasey is queer and just recently came out. But, beyond that? We don’t get anything to make you feel anything for the character.

Now, if you like this actor or that actor, you might be worried about them and whether they would die, but their characters? Well, let’s put it this way, despite Kasey noting her coming out and how her mom isn’t taking it well, we never meet said mom to see how much that devastates Kasey. You, instead, have to imprint your own experiences, be it personal or what you’ve seen and heard, to make Kasey seem more human.

Heck, even when it comes to Bird, while it is kind of nice her story and character doesn’t devolve just because her crush talks to her, at the same time, if that did happen at least we’d get to see her vulnerable. Maybe do more than a quick story about how her dad died, and she got a mark on her neck. For with her barely even speaking to her mother, it really does make the villain the focus since that is the only character who feels fleshed out and not interchangeable.

Overall: Mixed (Divisive)

What holds Polaroid back is that its characters are so flimsy. Bird and Kasey have these slightly interesting backstories that are never fleshed out and when it comes to the villain? There is this opportunity for ambiguity there, as to what their motive is, that isn’t really tapped into. Making for a wasted opportunity to make you wonder if they are truly evil or simply someone, or something, which snapped? Thus, the mixed label.


Polaroid Ending Explained

So, there are two ways you can take what happens in the end: The first is that Roland Joseph Sable, the killer, or “The Entity” was molesting his daughter Rebecca, and her friends found out and he killed all but Sheriff Pembroke to cover his tracks. Leading to Rebecca killing herself out of guilt due to her friends dying because of her. However, there is the story Lena, Roland’s wife, tells that pushes the idea Rebecca’s pictures were taken by someone else and then spread amongst the school. Thus, this picture, one NSFW, embarrassed her to the point of suicide. Leading to Roland killing some of the kids he knew was involved until he was killed by police.

Now, the movie steers you towards Sheriff Pembroke’s story of Roland being a pedophile and torturing everyone, including him, but he got away. However, the other story could be valid. Though, with Bird figuring out the way to slow down Roland’s ghost is by light, heat, then taking his picture and using it like one would a voodoo doll, she defeats him.

Not before everyone but Connor and Kasey die, but she had to learn on the job.

Is A Sequel Possible?

Considering Bird threw the camera into the river, and she defeated Roland, you’d think not. Yet, who is to say? Roland isn’t on the level of a Freddy Kreuger, or anything like that, never mind this movie wasn’t a hit stateside, since it missed a theatrical release, so the chances of a sequel seem slim to none.


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