The less a movie has characters, the more it concentrates on its development in one point, the more we get the feeling of isolation and the more we get the impression of being there. To add to simplicity, our hero doesn’t have one of those troubling supernatural pasts that conflict, by pure luck, with other unexplained phenomena. He seems normal, at least from what we know. In fact, we don’t know much about him and it doesn’t matter. We can concentrate on what is to come.
This haunting story is well built, considering the limited budget we assume it had. Two or three moments send shivers down your back. However, other golden opportunities were missed because they weren’t exploited enough. There aren’t a whole lot of murders but they are lengthy and take place in odd places. Rightfully, the environment and atmosphere give this movie its particularity. There is a murder in an weird school bus transformed into an apartment, a tree that grows in the basement, a spoon that takes more importance that any other spoon in the history of cinema and country music so difficult to tolerate that it becomes macabre.
The actors could have been better. Their talent or experience doesn’t really give them the opportunity to be credible in such serious roles. Eric’s character (the teenager) sometimes becomes a joke. If he is not playing with this rocket while making sure his grandfather is watching him and applauding just like he would applaud a four-year-old, he brags about his driving talents or jumps from a mental state of psychosis to immaturity in a disorienting rhythm.
The visual aspect is without a doubt what received the most attention. The hero becomes pyromaniac once possessed and sets fire to many homes. Each time, the fire never explicitly shown; it is suggested: an explosion viewed from the distance, using sound to fool our senses or by even manipulating, in a genius context, a puppet instead of setting fire to a stuntman. It all works perfectly. Then, there is the grain of the image. It seems like a filter was applied to the image to give it an old, out-of-style or even dirty look. Superimposed on some shots the effect is interesting while on others it becomes annoying. The camera angles themselves, once again considering the limited budget, are surprising.
I would appreciate seeing more independent productions of the sort in the future. This film commits the same mistakes that are generally criticized about the independent sub-culture. It cannot stop itself from scenes of extreme violence here, mistakes due to lack of attention there, yet nothing critical. Much effort was put into everything that was set on fire and the local fire department’s employees must have gotten on their knees and prayed.