Shudder's Baghead warns us to remember that communicating with the dead comes with a price

Freya Allan as Iris Lark - Baghead - Photo Credit: Reiner Bajo/Shudder
Freya Allan as Iris Lark - Baghead - Photo Credit: Reiner Bajo/Shudder /

Shudder’s Baghead has a very intriguing premise – one that most of us would probably at least consider for ourselves. If you had the opportunity to speak with a loved one who has passed on for two minutes for a hefty sum of cash, would you do it?

Those of us who know the horror genre would probably at least hesitate. I mean, aren’t most of us familiar with W.W. Jacobs’ short story The Monkey’s Paw? That tale (and many that came after that story, which was written in 1902) cautioned us that every supernatural gift comes at a price, and not necessarily a price with a dollar sign.

Iris and her father have long been estranged, so she naturally has conflicting feelings when she finds out he has died. As it turns out, he has left her a run-down pub in Berlin, and Iris and her friend Katie travel to sign the paperwork and check the place out.

Iris signs the deed, not knowing that it comes with a very bad condition. In the basement of the pub resides a creepy supernatural woman known as Baghead (due the burlap sack that covers her face). And by signing the paperwork, Iris has now become Baghead’s caregiver. She is given the sobering task of making sure the creature NEVER leaves the basement, and as long as she is living, Baghead must obey her.

Iris stays at the building that night, only to be awakened by a knock at the door. At the door is Neil, who offers her $2,000 to talk to Baghead. Apparently her father regularly took people’s money and allowed them to speak to the basement-bound creature, who can transform into a dead loved one. But the live person is only given two minutes to chat, and we find out the reason for this soon enough. Two minutes into the conversation, your dead “loved one” becomes very nasty.

Ruby Barker as Katie - Baghead - Photo Credit: Reiner Bajo/Shudder /

Now Iris is presented with a dilemma: she really, really needs the money, but she is rightfully terrified of Baghead.

Does the general premise of this tale sound familiar? If so, you may have seen last year’s hit horror film Talk to Me. But you should know that Baghead is based on a short film (also called Baghead) that was released before Talk to Me. Both the short and the feature-length films were directed by Alberto Corredor.

Baghead is very well done. The story is intriguing and effective, and the scenes shot in the pub (particularly in the basement) are appropriately dark and moody. Baghead herself is terrifying.

Freya Allan (The Witcher) is good as Iris, and Ruby Palmer gives a solid performance as her loyal friend Katie. I honestly wished we could have seen more of Peter Mullen as Iris’s Dad Owen; he is a master of facial expressions, and you could see the fatigue and sadness that enveloped him.

I didn’t quite understand why the pub was in Berlin instead of Ireland – Owen’s accent was definitely not of the German variety. Plus, the setting definitely FELT like Irish horror, and the character of Baghead just looked like an Irish creature of legend.

The film has some nice jump scares and visual effects, and I liked that we got the origin story of Baghead (something that was missing in Talk to Me). It was creepy, but I felt like it could have been more so. Still, it is definitely worth a watch if you have a Shudder subscription.