‘Sonic The Hedgehog:’ A Modern Horror Classic

Samuel Pappas, Reporter

“Sonic: The Hedgehog” is a 2020 children’s film about a blue eldritch horror that commits theft, vandalism and manslaughter while moving at a relatively high velocity.

While some critics have been quick to label this film as a marketing gimmick for an intellectual property that is almost universally hated, I have seen through the mirage of pandering for easy cash.

This film is not a light show for children with a mascot’s face plastered onto it. It is a deep exploration of the human mind as it descends further into the madness that is working with Jim Carrey.

Back when the film was announced in 2019, the original design for Sonic caught a lot of flack on the internet. The chief complaint was that Sonic was supposed to be cute and friendly, but instead he looked like my sleep paralysis demon had come to attack me in the waking world.

The thing casual movie-goers forget is the intent. Without the context of the film itself, you wouldn’t realize from your first or second viewing that the original design is actually a homage. Sonic is the modern day representation of Marlin Brando’s character Colonel Kurtz, in the 1979 film “Apocalypse Now.”

In this new take on John Conrad’s classic novel, “Heart of Darkness,” we watch a man named Tom continually throw his life away to assist a demonic beast named “Sonic” in recovering his bag of universe-warping rings.  Sonic manipulates Tom into harboring him in his home and attacking officials of the United States Homeland Security.

Tom starts the film as a bored police officer in Montana who is idling his days away with aspirations of living in a city and assisting people in life threatening situations when Sonic breaks into his house to hide from the authorities.

Tom understandably shoots Sonic with a tranquilizer dart (personally, I would have used something more lethal on my sleep paralysis demon) and Sonic drops his rings into a portal which leaves them on a rooftop in San Francisco. Sonic convinces Tom that it is his fault that he’s stranded in his world, so they embark on a journey of destruction to recover them.

The viewer and Tom are coaxed further into despair by Sonic’s silver tongue and running prowess. Tom finds himself in a bar fight, being beaten senseless while Sonic eats hot dogs and critically injures every innocent person in the room in the span of one second. Along the way, Tom convinces his wife to help him commit more crimes and they both tie up an innocent woman and steal her car, leaving her in her home presumably for days.

Sonic leaves a path of destruction and corpses behind him wherever he goes, and Tom trails right behind him unable to resist these destructive tendencies, despite swearing upon an oath to protect the innocent.

Sonic and Tom are being trailed by the eccentric and arrogant Dr. Robotnik, a man who places more faith in his machines than the human beings around him. Most of his creations end up destroyed by the end of the film and one can only shiver at the horror that would unfold if human beings were sent to apprehend Sonic instead of robots.

The loss of life would be catastrophic.

Robotnik and Sonic share the same relationship as that of Willard and Kurtz in “Apocalypse Now.” Robotnik is Hell-bent on bringing Sonic to justice and dissecting him to discover his power, but whereas Willard was given the smallest victory of killing Kurtz and ending the horror, Robotnik is condemned to a fate worse than death.

Robotnik is trapped in another world that Sonic banished him to. Left alone to rot in a hostile wilderness of mushrooms, isolated to the point where his only companion is a rock, loosely shaped like the face of his only friend, Agent Stone.

Tom is repeatedly called a terrorist, but just as Kurtz was killed for the U.S. Government to save face, Tom and his wife are left alive and paid off with Olive Garden gift cards to keep their silence. Tom is left completely ignorant of the collateral damage he has caused, but the nightmare continues, as Sonic stays with his new followers, prepared to rope them into a fresh batch of chaos when the sequel rolls around. 

The film ends on a teaser of Robotnik hatching a plan to return home and Sonic’s friend Tails opening a portal to find Sonic. Presumably to convince him to destroy this world and move onto the next, bringing the terror with them.

“Sonic The Hedgehog” is widely believed to be a film for kids, but do not be mistaken; there is fury in the eyes of this monster. There is no escape from the chaos that hides its malicious intentions with product placement and a wink at the camera.

Even if you see the horror of this truth, it will consume you. You can cry, you can hide, you may choose to run but the only thing you will have is a blue abomination tearing it’s claws into your spine and shouting: “You’re too slow!”