Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Vivarium: open-ended psychological horror

Greetings, commies!

If you are in a mood for a psychological sci-fi horror flick, consider Vivarium. Imagine if David Lynch and Rod Serling co-authored a plot. Jesse Eisenberg is the king of beta-males, and the role of a subdued suburban newlywed fits him perfectly. The quest for domestic bliss leads Gemma and Tom into a circle of hell. 


A young couple looking for the perfect home find themselves trapped in a mysterious labyrinth-like neighborhood of identical houses.

My thoughts

I see many viewers complaining about the 'lack of resolution'. This is a subtle, thought-provoking psychological horror piece, not a superhero flick where the good guys cross the T's and dot the I's in the end. This movie is comparable to David Lynch's works. Anyone with imagination and ability to think abstractly will find plenty to analyze and contemplate after watching it. Those who complain that the movie leaves too many unanswered questions - God forbid - should get themselves some buttery popcorn and watch the next Marvel blockbuster.

Friday, September 18, 2020

Berberian Sound Studio - a study in atmosphere development

Greetings, commies!

If you are up for a moody, artsy psychological pseudo-horror flick without jump scares or teen scream queens in tank tops, consider Berberian Sound Studio.

This movie does a great job of setting intriguing atmosphere, but ... there is no real plot. Or maybe the plot is so subtle, you don't notice it. It's not really a film in its own right but rather a study in light and sound. There is a lot of implicit horror - tell, don't show. It's what you don't see that is more terrifying than what you see. Despite the many Giallo references, the film has a strong Lynch-esque tone. The protagonist, stuck in a claustrophobic sound studio, begins doubting his own sanity. I wonder if the lack of resolution was due to the director's fatigue / lack of funds and imagination, or if it was intended. If you are a film student, you should watch this movie not for the plot but for various tone-setting techniques.