Blumhouse presents the next episode of Hulu’s horror anthology series Into the Dark. Pooka! is a kid’s toy that helps us realize the importance of family.
Don’t worry. I’ve already seen Pooka! The trailer does not spoil the whole movie. It only hints at what’s to come.
Method Acting is Dangerous
A young actor named Wilson (Nyasha Hatendi) answers an acting ad he finds in a coffee shop. I know that’s a thing. But, it probably shouldn’t be a thing. Almost every other flyer on that community board is for an indie rock group that could easily be the front for a serial killer.
The ad is desperately yellow and block lettered. It’s not pretty. It’s sad. It knows it’ll attract someone else who is equally desperate and sad.
Wilson meets with a casting director (Jon Daly) who introduces him to the doll version of Pooka. He’s supposed to be this generation’s version of Tickle Me Elmo and the Furby. The director needs someone to bring Pooka to life. That’s where Wilson comes in. He will wear a Pooka costume and do meet and greets with kids as a promotion.
But the director warns: Pooka is unpredictable.
Well, sure. It’s a little robot. So it’s probably programmed that way. Give the kids a little tough love. After all, kids can be really mean. Maybe they can learn that lesson from their toys.
Nope. The director’s warning is far more sinister. Wilson seems to be doing a great job playing Pooka. He’s able to buy a Christmas tree, make friends (Dale Dickey), and have a girlfriend (Latarsha Rose). But something is wrong. Wilson feels the burden of playing Pooka. He becomes worried that he’s losing control.
Control of what? Something big. His girlfriend’s son Ty (Jonny Berryman) asks in a distorted demon voice, “Are you going to hurt me?”
Grumpy Bear Meets Murder Bear
Several people in the comments for the trailer mention that Pooka looks a little like Pandoory the Panda from Hulu’s horror short The Hug. I get it. Both characters are Hulu properties.
Pooka looks more like the mutated offspring of Pickachu and Domu-Kun. Floofy with a limited vocabulary. There’s even the outline of red circle on Pooka’s tummy. I think it’s an homage to the buttons on gingerbread men and a reminder of the sheer demonic force of the Teletubbies.
Also, Pooka’s eyes turn to fire. Sometimes.
A Must Stream
Pooka! was written by Gerald Olsen (Back to School Mom) and directed by Nacho Vigalondo (Colossal).
It has genuine scary moments that are built out of a growing dread throughout the movie. It’s also wickedly funny, with some of the best jokes remaining in the background. In that way, it maintains the Blumhouse spin on the material without killing the horror pacing with cheap one-liners.
The ending is effective and will make you clutch any loved one you can find.
You’ll be able to stream Pooka! on Hulu starting Dec. 7. Look for my review early next week.
Have you been enjoying the Blumhouse series? Will you be streaming Into The Dark: Pooka!? Let’s discuss in the comments!