It can be difficult to write about this dark indie horror, maybe one of the grittiest and most visceral films of the year. First of all I think it is a superior film, featuring an impressive performance by his lead, Alex Essoe. The film raised money on Kickstarter for its completion and was also backed and promoted by Chuck Palahniuk.
Sarah, the protagonist, is a shy aspiring thesp living in L.A. surrounded by some other young people dreaming large too. From the beginning she is presented as a well mannered, reserved girl in her 20s. But there is something twisted and mysterious about her personality, you get that when you see her getting ready in front of the mirror and literally tearing off some hair from her head like it was normal. She has to make a living attending tables in a very skimpy uniform at a tacky diner. But her career as actress seems to head in a good direction when she is summoned to audition for an art house horror film ‘The Silver Scream’. – We’ll be in touch – however is the answer she gets after her first tryout. Sarah in total discomfort runs to the restroom and explodes in a series of screams as she is tearing off clumps of hair. Just on the other side of the wall the casting director is assisting the scene. Sarah is invited for a second audition on the spot. She is asked to stage exactly the same hysterical breakdown she experienced at the ladies’. What she gets is a another emotionless – we’ll be in touch -.
Living aside the phone Sarah starts getting estranged, meaner to people around her, abandon job, become nervous and irritable. She is invited back for another audition for Silver Scream. This time around the performance requires her to strip naked. The rest happens in a dark space flashed by strong lights that assault the flesh and the performance of Sarah.
what wouldn’t you do for a part in a film?
Eventually she is called for a final audition at the presence of the Producer. In this session is is asked to perform sexual intercourse with him. she refuses and lose her chances to star in the film. She has to get back to her miserable life, to her hideous uniform waiting for a new occasion to come around. In her cycle of friends there is a young director with a crush on her that succeeds in convincing her to accept a part in his next feature. Things can go sort of good for her. But madness again is behind the corner as Sarah, under drug influence, decides to call the Producer and submit to his will for the part in the film.
In one of the most evocative scenes of the film, shot from the top and then moving around, first we see Sarah giving herself to the old man and then slowly the camera reveals the fire dancing, some masked figures witnessing in the dark corners of the room. It is clear that sex is needed to seal a contract with a devilish creature.
Sarah turns back home where in the next days her body experiences an awful, disturbing deterioration. She gradually ends up almost bald, teeth less, completely sick and unable to stand, she throws up worms and she’s losing her nails. A very twisted scene films her in an infinite effort to reach to the phone, crawling in the corridor like a dying dog. Her body needs to feed. And not any food.
A new gorgeous, perfect body is promised to her if she will embrace dark to the fullest. She spirals in hell and accept to perform the ultimate bloody sacrifice requested to be part of the film company.
The film is actually super polished, sort of slick in a way, beautifully photographed and staged, again Alex Essoe’s performance is gut wrenching, disturbing, in a word perfect. Her transformation from the belle to the monster beast is not something we are used to see on film, she definitely shines in this crazy role.
You can find plenty of more competent review online covering also the score part, which I did not. IMDB Page.
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