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REVIEW: ‘HABITUAL’ digs deep into the wounds of a real life American Nightmare


In a time of isolation, ‘Habitual‘ justifies how deadly going to the wrong party can be.

LATIN HORROR Habitual, which premiers this Friday the 13th, is the second film and introduction into the horror genre, by director/writer/actor Johnny Hickey. Hickey, known for his first film, the indie crime thriller drama ‘Oxy-Morons‘, introduces audiences to Habitual, showing how horrific the seedy underworld of drugs and its impact on users and those around them.

Anti-Drug bona fides aside, Habitual is no after school special

– Johnny Hickey

Anti-Drug bona fides aside, Habitual is no after school special”, Hickey emphasized. “This film is a bloodbath highlighted within intense special effects and some seriously horrifying backdrops”. Hickey’s love and admiration for the horror genre shine throughout the film, most notably the influences from the 1980’s slasher horror films (Evil Dead), and filmmakers such as Stanley Kubrick and Alfred Hitchcock.

From the opening credits, Habitual entrances you with its stunning, yet eerie scenic shots of an old and abandoned Massachusetts mental institution, at dusk. Its calm visuals and sound design create an unnerving feeling that something evil is lurking in the shadows. Sending shivers up your spine.

Twenty-four hours earlier, a local bar is hosting a rave. Ravers dancing among the vibrant and luminous colors combined with trap music, willingly take drugs without question, from an unsavory drug dealer. Also flowing among the ravers, are flyers promoting “Habit”, a 12-hour rave at an abandoned insane asylum, exciting ravers.   

The morning after the rave, a group of young drug-popping raver friends, plan to go to the “Habit”, to get high and dance the night away. Before they make their way into “Habit”, they take a new and potent drug. Like Alice in ‘Alice in Wonderland‘, the friends fall into a mind-bending rabbit hole, within the walls of the asylum. The inside atmosphere of the dilapidated asylum feels similar to the old abandoned factory of ‘Hostel‘. It visually emphasizes dread, fear, and staleness. The further the friends go into the asylum, the stronger their living nightmare becomes.   

While in their drug-induced haze, the friends are stalked by a horrifically animalistic masked stalker, who’s brutal bloodthirsty, take no prisoner style, is similar to the iconic Leatherface of ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre‘. The use of practical effects, within its death scenes, especially one involving a razor blade, add to the skin-crawling bloodbath of Habitual.  

Habitual is a modern homage to the classic 1980s slashers, while also maintaining a distinctive voice and style. Bringing to light a modern issue which has become a growing nightmare for many in America.

We congratulate Hickey on Habitual and look forward to his future horror projects.

Habitual is set to release in Theaters and VOD on Friday, November 13, 2020. For more on Habitual watch the in-depth interview and trailer by clicking on the following links: EXCLUSIVE: Director Johnny Hickey talks DRUGS, HORROR and ‘HABITUAL’ in Video Interview and TRAILER: A new drug induced nightmare in ‘HABITUAL’.


INSTGRAM – @habitualmovie  





Habitual is a modern homage to the classic 1980s slashers, while also maintaining a distinctive voice and style.

Justina Bonilla
Justina is a Mexican-American freelance writer and journalist based in Orange County, CA. She has written for a number of publications. Currently, she is also a contributing writer for Latin Heat Entertainment. In her spare time, she volunteers as a film blog writer for the non-profit arthouse cinema, The Frida Cinema, in Santa Ana, CA. Her areas of expertise include retro pop-culture (film, music, and television), Golden Age of Hollywood, cult-films, classic horror films, Latino American cinema, Latin horror films, and the history of American rock ‘n’ roll.

EXCLUSIVE: Director Johnny Hickey talks DRUGS, HORROR and ‘HABITUAL’ in Video Interview

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