Movies

Hulu’s Psychosexual Tentacles Explained-Tainted Love

Ahhhh, new love. Is there anything better? The rush of emotions, the flush of excitement, that all-consuming need to be together every waking moment that all come with finding that special someone. Unless, of course, all those things are caused by pheromone mind control chemicals and a raging fever. Hulu’s Tentacles is a weird and weirdly sexy(if it’s wrong, I don’t want to be right) addition to the Into The dark movies from Blumhouse that we have been craving. The horror love story from writers Alexandra Pechman and Nick Antosca of Channel Zero fame is just in time to remind you why falling fast and hard isn’t always such a good idea.

Tara, an ambiguously aquatic Dana Drori, is on the run from someone who has hurt her in the past. The film opens with her being attacked and then burying bags of cash in the desert. She meets Casey Deidrick’s Sam after hopping from one open house to another. They are wounded kindred spirits, or so we are led to believe. The two fall into a scorching affair of sex, toxicity, and codependence. Sam begins getting very sick and starts to doubt what Tara has told him about her past. What is true, what are lies, and is it all just tainted love? The answers come in the last half hour of the film, which didn’t exactly stick the landing but did enough to make the first two-thirds worth a watch.

The Ending of Tentacles

Throughout the film, Sam’s health deteriorates as the couple isolates themselves from everyone else. Tara acts erratically and keeps secrets from Sam. Despite all this, he proposes to her just weeks after meeting her. She enthralls him, and nothing anyone says and no amount of danger signs can deter him. She feels the safest underwater, whatever? He feels like he might be dying when he’s with her, no matter. It isn’t until parts start falling off of his body that he faces the truth. The girl isn’t good for him.

When Grant, who is Alice’s(Tara’s old identity) ex-boyfriend, shows up, she bashes him over the head with a hammer, killing him. After assuming Sam’s appearance, she meets with Sam’s doctor and sleeps with Esther. As Sam’s body falls apart fingernail by oozy black fingernail, he road trips to the bar in the photo Grant gave him. There he learns he wasn’t the first person Tara/Alice/Lena has got her hooks into. Another previous boyfriend managed to escape her months ago when he was hospitalized. That man tells Sam where to find Tara’s cabin with Lena, and there he found a bloody crime scene and a very desiccated body that looks suspiciously like Tara.

Returning home, Sam finds Grant dead on the floor and finally realizes that Tara is not human and is the person who has been making him sick. She wants to consume him, mind, body, and soul through her tentacles and a painful mind-meld. She next takes over his life and digs back up the money she buried in the desert. This completes her transformation and gives her the money needed to live her best life as Sam. In the closing moments, another shape-shifting sea beast finds Sam and shows his stomach scar. I guess this was a love story after all. There is someone for everyone.

Oops I Did It Again

This isn’t the first time Tara/Lena/Alice/rando dude and a whole host(pun intended) of other people who are crammed into the body of that mollusk have stolen someone. Whatever kind of parasitic creature it is can shapeshift into anyone they have shared time with. As days turn into weeks and months, whoever they are with loses bits and pieces of themselves. Each time they have sex, they strengthen the bond with their victim. As they sleep, tentacles siphon off spare parts until there is nothing left but a dry husk of bones and hair. That is what happened to the real Tara at the beginning of the film.

Tara is like a hermit crab and an octopus mixed together. Early in the film, she seems to have unusually good hearing and later activates the Force to convince a gallery receptionist to take Sam’s work to the curator. While no mollusk is known to have those talents many have great eyesight and can change their appearance to protect themselves. Octopuses(yes that’s the correct plural)are incredibly complex creatures with amazing intelligence and adaptability. Scientists still don’t know how the cephalopods developed their abilities.

Tara goes from body to body, absorbing the person’s essence and appearance if needed. Like the octopus, she can camouflage herself any way she needs to fit her environment. Just like a hermit crab, she needs to find a new home periodically to make way for growth. In Tara’s case, that is more personal than physical growth. The giant scar that runs down her abdomen is the access point for the tentacles that slither out each night to invade Sam.

Toxic

Like a real toxic relationship, Tentacles shows what happens when you sacrifice the me for the we. We’ve all been in a relationship we should have gotten out of years ago. There should have been red flags everywhere for Sam, but Tara was hot, kept him heavily occupied sexually, and has the benefit of chemical persuasion. He should have questioned her past life’s comment. The considerable belly scar she doesn’t want to discuss, and the weird stalker boyfriend were neon signs. Sure, the blood in his ears, black grossness in the tub, and the other man she morphs into while giving him oral satisfaction should have at least given him pause.

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His best friend and business partner Esther, implores him to pump the brakes a little, but he brushes her off. He doesn’t question things until it is way too late, though. The need to be loved and the highs and lows of a dramatic relationship can make us stay even when we shouldn’t. It becomes a drug of ecstasy, white-hot rage, and bone-crushing sadness. Tentacles distills that concept down into a creature story about an innocent octopus trying to find love in the big bad world.

Slave For Love

You can’t blame Sam for not seeing what Tara was until it was too late. What can you say? She’s not a girl, not yet a woman, and she never will be. The tagline for Tentacles is “lose yourself in someone else.” We have all been there. We have all been duped by the wrong partner and found ourselves crying into our beer when it all comes crashing down. Thankfully, most of us didn’t get sucked dry by the experience and learned our worth. If you are into sexy but flawed love stories, Hulu’s Tentacles is a winner. Even Kracken’s can find their perfect matches.