Monday, November 21, 2016

Lorcan Finnegan's WITHOUT NAME (2016)

I have to say up front when you decide to see Lorcan Finnegan's WITHOUT NAME you must WATCH the film all the way to the end. Ideally this should be seen in a movie theater. Turn off the cellphone. If you can't get to a theater and you're seeing it at home get the biggest TV in the house with the best sound you can muster, turn off all the lights and watch it all the way from first frame to last. Do not talk to your buddy or pet your cat - just focus on the film and let it wash over you. I was given this advice by a good friend who is absolutely in love with the film, as well as director Lorcan Finnegan who emailed me about the correct way to see the film. And they were both absolutely dead on about that. I'm sure the film will work fine anyway you want to see it after the first time- but that first time really should be on a big screen with big sound and as dark a place as possible...

Do that and when the end credits run it will scare the shit out of you and haunt you for days afterward.

The film concerns Eric, a surveyor sent to do a report on a vast forest for a shadowy corporation. They had picked up the land for a song during a financial downturn and they need a report to tell them if the land will suit their purposes (whatever that is).  As he waits for Olivia, his assistant to arrive, he begins his work and quickly find the woods are an eerie place. His equipment malfunctions and is knocked about. When Olivia finally arrives the weirdness increases the tension between them...

Trust me you have no clue where this is going. You don't, and you won't until it tells you what it is.

A deliberate slow burning film, the pace is going to piss off anyone who wants rapid fire scares and shock jump cuts from the get go. This is not that sort of a film. Its also not going to play well with the blood and body parts crowd who are going to storm off because there are none. On the other hand if you want a film that draws you in, throws clues at you that you don't realize are clues and will make you terrified of trees and the wind and everything else in the natural world then this is for you.

The film is such a beautiful marriage of image and sound that you're going to get chills ever after just from the sound of the wind. Looking at a beautiful fern I was wondering what sort of awful thing was lurking there. I won't talk about the trees or even the small hole left by a peg. Nothing is said directly Finnegan simply marries the right image with the right sound design and the right music and suddenly we're ready to jump out of our skins. Its kind of like how the opening sequences of JAWS which shows nothing just images of water with John Williams music them and it send shivers down your spine. Finnegan and his team of geniuses do the same thing- but for 90 freaking minutes.Your skin will crawl.

Actually we do see things and we hear stories and our brain puts it all together exactly in such a way as to quietly scare the bejesus out of us. What's worse is when we finally see where it all ends it chills us to the bone. We're very likely to sickly groan a "no" or an "Oh shit" as the horror hits us in the face. Best of all because of the way Finnegan has structured the film we end up carrying the horror into the night with us.  I'm sure if you live in a city the sense of dread will dissipate more quickly than if you live in the country. I for one had to go home to a house in the suburbs near a wooded area...and it was a dark and stormy night...

This is a great film from top to bottom. From the images that are perfectly composed, to the sound design that puts terror all around you, to the performances that are among the best I've seen all year (the facial expressions are frightening because they say so much beyond the words) this film should be an Oscar contender many times over. But sadly small gems such as this will never get recognized despite the fact that everything about them truly are the best of the year.

A couple of years back I saw Finnegan's FOXES and was blown away by it. Anyone I showed it to was blown away as well. We all have been waiting for the follow up and now it's here and all I can say is we were not disappointed. With WITHOUT NAME Lorcan Finnegan takes his place as a film director of high stature (he's on my Koolaid list of directors I'll follow anywhere). He has gone from one masterpiece to another and now all I can do is ask how long until the next one?

One of 2016's horror masterpieces.

(An interview with director Lorcan Finnegan will run tomorrow here at Unseen Films)

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