This had a low-key online-only release in the middle of the year, though I’d be interested to see it in a cinema and I hope it does get a chance to get some kind of screenings, maybe in festivals next year — though I wonder whether a lot of films will never now be seen in cinemas? I feel like maybe if anything I underrated it, because it’s striking and expressive and really builds an intensity all of its own, while nodding towards genre classics. The Pure Cinema Pod guys did a whole episode with its director, which is interesting in terms of drawing out these influences, but I felt the film also went a little under the radar, which is a pity.
This is a horror film, but intriguingly (or not, depending on your tastes) it fits more into the modern strain of anxiety-based indie cinema, somewhere between Josephine Decker’s disorienting camerawork and some of the slow-burn intensity of, say, Karyn Kusama’s The Invitation. After all, nothing really physically threatening happens in it, but it’s suffused with a sense of dread that invades the characters’ psyches, evoked by a slightly distant acting style, but also inflects the filmmaking itself (some of the colour choices, the expressive editing). It’s definitely a film you either connect with at the level of its acting and atmospherics, or which you discount as a failed experiment. Either way, I think it’s a fascinating film that effectively uses what I imagine is quite a low budget (and quite a few surprising guest stars) to evoke a sense of heightened drama.
Director/Writer Amy Seimetz; Cinematographer Jay Keitel; Starring Kate Lyn Sheil, Jane Adams, Kentucker Audley, Chris Messina; Length 84 minutes.
Seen at an Airbnb flat (BFI Player streaming), Lower Hutt, Wednesday 11 November 2020.