Posted in: Disc Reviews by David Annandale on January 30th, 2006
Summarizing this puppy is a bit of a challenge. But here goes: a nameless young woman (Samara Golden) moves into a dingy apartment located in the middle of an urban hellscape. The place is a mess, with the previous owner’s possessions scattered everywhere. There are plenty of messages on this guy’s answering machine, too, some plenty aggressive (and these messages are the only dialogue in the film). Is the man still alive, and watching her from the ventilation duct? Has she killed him? How m…ny of the nightmarish things that happen are real, and how many are her hallucinations.
The ending suggests the whole movie is an extended metaphor. To the film’s credit, the (mostly) black-and-white cinematography is imaginative, the images are disturbing, and star/co-writer/co-producer Golden convincingly incarnates a woman who is some steps past the verge of a nervous breakdown. The absence of dialogue and linear narrative adds to the nightmarish qualities of the work, but some viewers may find this hard slogging. I wonder if the film might not pack more punch as a short feature. Either way, it is imaginative and unsettling, and that’s a good thing. The film runs 73 minutes, and not the indicated 82.
The sound is in 2.0 and is, fittingly, in your face, nicely matching the images on display. There are plenty of environmental effects, but it must be said that these are almost completely indiscriminate. Thus, while street noises surround one to disturbing effect, keys dropped on a suitcase given just as much surround volume. This may be deliberate, but such moments are a little bit distracting. The soundscape drowns out the voices on the answering machine, but this I assume very much is a deliberate choice.
Most of the film is in black-and-white (shot on 16 mm, I believe), while a few shots are in a very washed-out colour (blown up from Super 8). Others are in more saturated colour on better stock. The picture flaws – the aforementioned colours, the grain, the scratches in the print – are all pretty obviously deliberate, and add to the disorienting darkness of the film. The format is fullscreen.
Nothing here but a still gallery, which is a shame. I’d like to know a lot more about this work. The menu’s intro is creepy, animated and scored, while the main screen (which settles down with an odd skip) is scored.
Experimental horror isn’t for screening during parties, but I like the nightmare qualities of this piece.
Special Features List
- Still Gallery