—following the spree of The House of the Devil (West; 2009), with the distinctive finesse of the ‘80s done in the ‘00s. That wistful grime of VHS, soggy chips and Roseanne (Williams; 1988-97); dark, stringy overlays and blotchy colours, floppy disks, leftover ‘70s oranges and an unmistakably characteristic synth. That play on everything: Daft Punk’s Electroma (Bangalter & De Homem-Christo; 2006), Altered States (Russell; 1980), THX 1138 (Lucas; 1971), in a long suspenseful yet meaningful Antonioni drag and frame, shot between shot. An objet d’art, and not necessarily essentially narrative. Pictures of pictures. Idea scaffolding. As a peak of nostalgia.
Comparatively, we might also reckon it against MTV: Dialogue – the lack thereof – is often succinct, enigmatic or mirage, structured more poetically than prosaically. More about the cutting impact of the words themselves ‘—the Devil’s teardrop—’ rather than their intercorrelation, meanwhile the sustenance of an ongoing malevolence. Michael Rogers (as Barry Nyle) looking like a Christian Bale doppelgänger; or the haunting obscurity of Eva Bourne as Elena as Eva Allan psychologically pinned to a pyramid. The disturbingly anatomically graphic portraiture of genitalia in a simple exercise book, with pentagrams. Machinations of a madman, or a time-traveller, or a doctor, or perhaps even not even a human at all.
Communicatively, we could consider it a somewhat minimalist Æon Flux (Chung; 1991) posit in the aftermath of some speculative catastrophe. The illusive Arboria Institute remains chronically cult and introspective, in an attempt to blend science and spirituality together like The pseudoscientific Rosicrucian Cosmo-conception (Heindel; 1909). Transfigurative undertones get superseded by Elena’s latent telepathy, bludgeoned by tiring interrogations via Nyle and hypodermic “Sentionauts”. This is in the effort to expand – yet simultaneously control – her abilities, and then questionably replicate and reinterpret them large-scale.
This inherently Human curiosity, as with Martyrs (Laugier; 2008) – steadily chipping away at the horizon – is subliminally limiting, expanding, and/or merging consciousness with boundary at the expense of said consciousness. Like a cosmetic rat. Negating the science and the spirituality of the now in favour of tomorrow. It is as the Why of the Why, Mandelbrot and infinite with regress. The aftermath of the black rainbow itself has stupefied its followers, as has the pursuit of enlightenment rendered into a devolution of body and soul instead. Because the manipulation of the genetic is never satisfactory; never enough to simply conquer your enemy, but to make them irrevocably: “He loved Big Brother.” (Orwell; 1949).
What we get is fragrant and frenetic with neon sludge, persistent corridors, static claustrophobic rooms within rooms tight within budget. That layered, deeper-meaning everything, sleek with repetition and resounding harmonics. Ambiguous, undefinitive, always like the ending to John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982). Isolating characters in an anti-interactive environment, as with something Shinboru (Matsumoto; 2009), needing third-person presence, input, over/extrapolation. Arthouse with vibe and un/emotion, that little cinema you know intimately in its crooks. Syzygy with confusion and frustration; but that same feeling you get after completing Sudokus from scratch. For the sheer sake of being challenged.