Written and Directed by John Burr
Starring: Riley Egan, Elle Evans, Kate Mansi, Lou Ferrigno Jr., Max Decker, Jennie Fahn
IMDb 5.2/10 Rotten Tomatoes NO DATA Metacritic NO DATA
When I watched the trailer for this film I thought “This has potential.”. Now, remember that I clarified that not too long ago to mean that it has potential to be good and it has potential to suck. Basically meaning that I can see why it might be well received but, I can also see why it could flop as well. This time, it was potential to be good. And it far exceeded my expectations.
I think this is an exceptional indie film. And I’m not alone in that. Apparently, throughout eight different film festivals this film has won thirteen out of eighteen nominations. At the Austin Revolution Film Festival, it won, Best Horror Feature, Best Cinematography, Best In Show- Feature, and Best Soundtrack/Score. It again won Best Horror Feature at the Cape Fear Independent Film Festival and Best Feature Film at both Frackfest and Horrorhaus Film Festival. Other awards include Most Unique Horror Film, Best Original Score, Best Original Screenplay and Best Actor for Riley Egan.
It’s such a basic story and yet it is completely effective. A young man, Adam (Riley Egan), is…I guess you could call him one of the many starving artists trying to make a name for himself. He’s a quiet slender man with a love for his paints, brushes and canvases. He racks his brain night and day searching for inspiration inside him. He wants to create something amazing to take to the 440 Gallery to have the owner, Valerie approve it to hang in her gallery. He’s just not getting there. While his art is awesome, he knows it’s missing something, he just can’t figure out what.
But, he needs to figure it out soon because his life is crashing down around him. Not only is he having a hard time paying rent but the landlord, Lance, tells him that it’s going up another fifty dollars and he needs that money. (Side note: I thought landlords had to give a thirty-day notice of rent increase or something but this guy, just does it on a whim. SO shady. At the same time, he is informed of the rent increase we meet Hector, an intimidating brut with an arrogant and ignorant attitude that oozes from every pore.
Adam is also obviously extremely lonely…and vulnerable. He’s got a thing for a gal that lives in the building (her name is Maria, played by Kate Mansi) but, she’s involved with an abusive douchebag artist named Jason (Ferrigno Jr.). Jason Block. As in BLOCK-head. I swear this guy is probably one of the most insecure men to ever walk the earth. Whoa.
At a showing at the 440 Gallery, Valerie tells Adam he needs to find his muse. He asks her a few questions but kind of blows her off. Later, Hector (Max Decker) sort of bullies Adam into giving him a ride to see a couple friends. If he drives, Hector will give him a couple hundred dollars. Adam tells him to go kick rocks but, eventually his basic needs, like food and rent, catch up to him so, he tells Hector he’ll do it. They take their little trip and Hector gets into some trouble while Adam is out exploring a sound he hears in the woods. It is there he sees his Muse. He tries to show Hector that there’s a woman alone in the woods but Hector doesn’t care as he is caught up in his own messed up business at the moment.
They go back to their apartment building and Adam paints the Muse from his memory of that swift glimpse of her in the woods. He shows the painting to Valerie and she loves it. She wants more pieces like that one. Adam is thrilled.
Then the Muse shows up in his apartment that when things start to get really crazy. Now, all of a sudden Adam has it all. He’s becoming a success, he’s in love with his Muse (who is totally devoted to him) and he’s creating the best work of his life.
But, Adam soon learns that having the Muse by his side, in his head, in his heart, is not always a positive thing.
What happens with Adam and his Leannán Si (translates to the beautiful ones) now that she is front and center in Adam’s life?
Watch the movie and find out.
I really did think this movie was exceptional. The acting is great. It’s calm but intense. There’s definitely an eeriness throughout the entire film which, I happen to think, is hard to accomplish. I mean, it’s completely consistent all the way through. The Muse has this blank yet seductive look in her eyes the whole time, every time we see her. I personally feel it’s harder to pull off a role with no dialogue rather than one with dialogue. Fact is, everything has to be conveyed by body language in a role of that kind and Elle Evans is fantastic. The creature she plays, a Leannán Si or Muse, reminds me of a succubus in a way. A seductive sexual spirit that can help or hinder, although a succubus is usually considered to be of the demonic persuasion. Still, our Muse in this film isn’t all roses and champagne. There is a darker and more sinister undertow in the film that you can easily get caught up and invested in. But through the whole movie you can’t shake the feeling of dread and impending doom. The lack of emotion of the characters really sells the creep factor all the way around.
I can’t think of any reason why a regular horror fan wouldn’t like this film. There’s blood, violence, sex, murder, abstraction, supernatural activity, it’s got everything. So, please, go ahead and give it a shot. I think you’ll be pleased. It’s definitely something I would have paid to see in the theater. I can’t understand why a major studio didn’t try to pick this up. It’s unique and original in my opinion and I would think top studios would be looking for something like that, something fresh. And that’s just what we have here. I give props to the filmmakers and cast and crew. They really got the job done.