Let’s get revenge.
Travis Stevens is a highly stylized director who makes some strange films. I’ve never fully connected with his work before but this one worked for me. We have a mixture of surrealism, Greek mythology, slasher films, and a 1970s psychedelic aesthetic. I don’t think this strange brew will work for everyone, but I do encourage folks to give it a go.
We follow Meredith (Sarah Lind) who just got out of an abusive relationship and is now going to give new beau Bruce (Josh Ruben) a chance by going to his house in the remote countryside. Oh snap though, Bruce is a serial killer and is bringing her out to the woods to murder her.
However, a statue of the Greek Furies seems to be consciously warning Meredith. Can she get out in time? Is there a supernatural element?
The film splits into two halves (maybe even three) with art dealer serial killer front and symbolic arthouse meditation the second. I think the pairing works well, and also think the film becomes more interesting the longer it goes. The examination of violence against women, guilt, and the responsibility of the murderer are all good topics for horror. The film hits the important notes quite well, and I applaud Stevens for balancing his style and his message. Yet, while the film does hit the high notes nicely, the smaller details may dig into your brain a bit.
The set-up of the story works only half way. Bruce is a believable killer, and sees the dark part of his mind manifest as a red owl that demands he kill. He’s also an art dealer, so he has wealth, connections, and an ability to get close to people. However, he and Meredith have only dated once before, and with her just getting out of an abusive relationship it doesn’t make a lot of sense for her or her friends to think going away alone for an extended weekend is a wise idea.
Likewise, Meredith is an art appraiser, and the piece of the Furies was stolen by Bruce after he murdered the previous owner. Meredith’s work appraised the piece before all this, but she didn’t know about its theft? Seems like a murder/theft in the art world would cause a bit of a stir. We also have Meredith oddly defensive upon arriving at the house (although she does hear a ghost), but her irritation doesn’t seem to make sense. She ignores blatant red flags to pick up on subtle ones.
The style of the film works quite well. As I said, the big picture works. We do have odd narrative moments and questionable CGI (even with the 70s flavor some of it is a bit subpar). However, some of the visuals are excellent and will linger with you after the movie.
This is a different type of horror that has scary implications and an overall sense of the surreal. I liked it and loved some parts. Give this one a go, but know that the first chunk will require some patience. It takes the film a little while to truly work its magic.
Worth a watch.