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Feed the Light (Blu-ray)

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Starring Lina Sunden, Patrik Karlson, Martin Jirhamn

Directed by Henrik Möller

Distributed by Severin Films


Numerous attempts have been made at adapting the works of H.P. Lovecraft for film, though few have been much of a success. Lovecraft’s material is ripe for lavish productions; the issue is typically that his writing is also too obtuse and esoteric for mainstream consumption. This is a big part of why Guillermo del Toro’s “At the Mountains of Madness” fell apart. On the complete opposite end of the budgetary spectrum, however, viewers can find director Henrik Möller’s micro-budget Feed the Light (2014). Inspired by Lovecraft’s 1927 short story, “The Colour out of Space”, Möller’s film is a tight exercise in restraint, ambition, and tension that ultimately plays more like an expertly made subtle student film than what viewers would typically expect from something Lovecraftian.

Sara (Lina Sunden) is an abused wife who is battling her soon-to-be ex, John (Patrik Karlson), for custody of their daughter, Jenny (Ingrid Torstennson). After John vanishes within an enigmatic industrial building with Jenny, Sara attempts to infiltrate the premises by taking a janitorial job amongst the hostile workers at the site. There, she is instructed to sweep up sparkling particles of dust that are falling from the rafters and lighting fixtures, being told the dust attracts “pests” that like to feed on it. During her cleaning she wanders off into another zone and meets a strong, militant employee who seems hostile at first, but later reveals himself to be helpful and knowledgeable. Sara is told to meet up with someone called “VHS-Man” because he may be able to assist in tracking down her daughter.

Sara follows his guidance and meets the VHS-Man, only to be horrified to learn it is her ex-husband, impossibly aged and not in a good state. He warns her of the light and explains how it can change a person, sometimes aging them years in the span of hours. With his instructions, Sara is able to see shadow-beings within the light, entities capable of killing, and she is also warned the light will play tricks on her, including pretending to be their daughter. Entering Floor 2 and being led by a mysterious coil of string (it’ll make sense once you see the film) Sara must not only avoid the shadow demons but also Chefen (Jenny Lampa), the on-site boss who keeps a masked male as a sort of dog in her office. The journey is difficult and fraught with confusion, but Sara soldiers on for the sake of her child.

What this film lacks in budget it manages to make up for in acting talent and desire. Lina Sunden delivers a powerful performance as a rough-around-the-edges mother who so desperately wants to get her daughter back in her arms. She becomes singular in thought and action once she learns her ex has absconded with their kid to some shady high rise, making it her undying mission to bring her daughter back home. Every step of the way brings with it strife, from the stern boss who hires her to work alongside gruff janitors, to the realization light is a more powerful and deadly force than she ever knew – and it has the power to do unexplainable things. Even as those around her die or are crippled, be it physically or by fear, she is undaunted in her action. Sunden is the film’s anchor and her performance, aided by a strong supporting cast, maintains viewer interest in this no-budget, Spartan affair.

Viewers may conjure up specific thoughts upon hearing this is an “H.P. Lovecraft inspired” tale – disregard those notions because this is a no frills take on arcane mysteria. Möller’s film has drawn comparisons to David Lynch, specifically Eraserhead (1977), and although I would be hesitant to apply the term “Lynchian” to describe this feature there are some parallels in terms of ambiance and sound design and, of course, the lo-fi black-and-white photography. Möller keeps his film taut, driving up any suspense he can through earned moments of tension and dramatic performance, because clearly the budget was not going to allow for much more outside of creativity and ability. Feed the Light may be atypical for a Lovecraft picture but it manages to exceed expectations by maintaining a shroud of secrecy and curiosity throughout, leaving viewers guessing while the classic tale of a mother protecting her child unfolds within an austere, otherworldly environment.

The photography of the film is largely black-and-white, although sepia and other tones creep in at times to illuminate specific parts of the image. The 1.78:1 1080p picture is stable and clean, although it is evident plenty of post-production work has been done to “dirty up” the image and grade it appropriately. As such, do not expect a squeaky clean digital picture but, rather, something rougher and lacking in cinematic polish. I am confident this is a faithful reproduction of the intended look and so in that respect this is a strong transfer.

A Swedish (not English, as the back cover suggests) LPCM 2.0 stereo track carries the droning and dissonant sound cues with ease. The sound design is definitely Lynch-inspired, filling the void of the building with low humming, clanging, repetitive noise, and only the most minimal of scoring. Some synth-y keyboard cues pop in occasionally but more often than not the sound is a disjointed landscape of various tones. Subtitles are available in English.

“Making of Feed the Light” covers the standard bases, touching upon how the project came to be, production, etc.

“The Lovecraft Influence” is an interview with co-writer/director Henrik Möller.

A trailer is also included.

Special Features:

  • Making of Feed the Light
  • The Lovecraft Influence – Interview with co-writer/director Henrik Möller
  • Trailer

BUY IT NOW!

  • Feed the Light
  • Special Features
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User Rating 2.71 (14 votes)

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7 GUARDIANS OF THE TOMB Review – Rest Easy, Indiana Jones, There’s Not Much To See Here

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Starring Kellan Lutz, Bingbing Li, Kelsey Grammar

Directed by Kimble Rendall


If it only weren’t for those friggin’ spiders. Kimble Rendall’s adventurous flick, 7 Guardians Of The Tomb is one of those “wanted to be, yet couldn’t quite hit the mark” action-films that will probably entertain those looking for some cave-dwelling escapades caught on celluloid, but for the more picky aficionado of said slam-bang pics, this one might be viewed as a bit stagnant. Let’s strap on our mining helmets and pick around this one, shall we?

Acting as a bit of a search-and-rescue formation, the movie tails alongside Dr. Jia Lee (Li) as she hunts down the whereabouts of her missing brother after losing contact with him while he was on expedition in Western China. Apparently he was looking for a secretive Emperor’s tomb that supposedly holds a potion that can reanimate, or re-invigorate…or rehabilitate – anyway you slice it, the juice has got some pretty potent powers. So a search team is assembled, led by Mason (Grammar – glad someone got Frasier off of the barstool), and he’s latched onto all-American fella Jack (Lutz) to assist this operation. As it turns out, the initial journey is cut off fairly quick when a violent electrical storm forces the group to head underground, and that’s when things get creepy and crawly…like 8-legged style. The film is ripe with some feverish action and a few decent performances, but it’s the overall framework that acts as the big bully, tauntingly kicking sand in the little guy’s face at the beach.

We’ve got love interests, a flurry of backstories, and oh my lord, those spiders! Yep, even the heartiest of CGI can effectively ruin a good case of the willies when it comes to arachnids and their powers of sucking humans and animals dry of their lifeforce. It’s an intently goofy movie, and even the dialogue seems a bit showy at times, leaving plausibility and intelligence at the entrance to the caves. Lutz is fun to watch as the burly rescuer, and he looks as the type who is just waiting for his cinematic moment to step into the spotlight. What pains me is that this movie really could have been something much bigger, and apparently it looks as if the majority of the film’s budget was wasted on those hokey-looking computerized spiders.

All in all, 7 Guardians Of The Tomb is spotty entertainment, even if you despise those little skittering aphids racing towards you, programmed or not. Give it a peek if Raiders Of The Lost Ark isn’t readily available at your disposal…even that crappy Crystal Skull one.

  • Film
2.5

Summary

A film that could have been so much more adventure-wise instead comes off looking like a lesson in how not to waste too much time on computer imagery.

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Who Goes There Podcast: Ep 160 – A QUIET PLACE

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Lately, it seems as though comedy actors are cutting their teeth as horror directors and absolutely killing it! This year’s indie horror darling comes in the form of John Krasinki’s A Quiet Place. Chris has been sick as a dog, so the haomie Christine from Horrible Imaginings Film Fest is filling in to discuss whether A Quiet Place is 2018’s horror heavyweight, or just a lot of noise.

What Bruno took was what changed me; it only amplifies your essence. It simply makes you more of what you already are. It’s the Who Goes There Podcast episode 160!

If you like what you hear, please consider joining our Patreon subscribers. For less than the cost of a beer, you get bonus content, exclusive merchandise, special giveaways, and you get to help us continue doing what we love.

The Who Goes There Podcast is available to subscribe to on iTunes right here. Not an iTunes user? You can listen on our Dread Central page. Can’t get enough? We also do that social media shit. You’ll find us on FacebookTwitterInstagramTwitch, and YouTube.

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THE DEVIL AND FATHER AMORTH Review: Friedkin Goes Mondo Catholic

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Starring Father Gabriele Amorth

Directed by William Friedkin


Hitting theaters this weekend in NYC and LA is William Friedkin’s new documentary, The Devil and Father Amorth. And right away I am asked: “Is it ‘good’?” You don’t watch a documentary like this with that in mind. Faces of Death, Traces of Death, Mondo Cane. They are not here to be “good”—they are beyond words like that. Beyond good and bad.

It is more like the sideshow—Behold! See what has not been seen before! The Horror! The Forbidden! And you hand the man your ticket — you see The Arabian Giantess at the flea market in New Jersey, and maybe it is a sleight of hand and made of papier-mâché, but it was worth that dollar, and now you have a story. You have bought your way into the unknown.

The Devil and Father Amorth is light on science (and length – it runs just 68 minutes) and heavy on faith. If you have been exposed to Friedkin’s — or more specifically, William Peter Blatty’s — work, there is the struggle with belief in the Roman Catholic faith, and also in the search for evidence of the miracle. You could also prove the Force of Divine Good if you could face the opposite side of the coin—the Force of Evil, in the vernacular of Catholicism—the Devil himself. Paradoxical, yes—faith exists without proof; and so what is the drive to tell the world God exists, the Devil exists?

In the documentary we learn Rome is filled with the possessed. Hundreds of people are contacting the Church about their own possession or the possession of their loved ones. The Most Holy Father Amorth is the person the Vatican has tapped to perform exorcisms—thousands of them. And sometimes he has repeat business. Christina is one such woman, exorcised nine times and still susceptible to the Force of Evil. Those of us who are non-believers look at this woman as someone who is troubled—but “through the eyes of faith,” obviously it is a demon.

Surrounded by her family, the rite begins, and you see… an actual exorcism. There is no enhancement, no Dick Smith make-up; it is not as dramatic as we want it to be. Should we get her help that is not in the form of a witch doctor? What about doctors? And so we meet them.

Friedkin brings the footage to top hospitals in NYC. Psychologists give their point of view. Then neurosurgeons. They don’t know what’s going on—the exorcism seems to help, but they do see that it might be a cultural remnant. There is a medical diagnosis for it, as it can affect anyone of any faith. But the doc never digs too deep. I am disappointed: I needed to know more. I don’t believe it.

Are they hurting Christina? Is she just another female the Church is suppressing, as they did with witches—the control, the stigma, of the female body and identity? None of this is explored because it’s just a 1-dollar ticket under the striped tent, just left of the dancing girls and the strong man—Actual! Exorcist! Footage! Hurry up and see!

As Friedkin mentioned himself, when someone asks you to film an exorcism, you say yes. So see it for the freak show. Expect nothing else. And either you believe or you don’t, based on how you were raised — mythology, religion, or superstition.

  • The Devil and Father Amorth
2.0

Summary

See it for the freak show. Expect nothing else.

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