Tuesday, August 22, 2023

Brightwood (2023)

A couple who can't stand each other go jogging the morning after it becomes clear that their marriage has imploded. As they jog around a local lake, they realize the path home has disappeared, that events are repeating and sinister figures that look familiar are lurking. 

This film didn't work for me. Billed as a time loop film, this is something else. It's a film where the couple are trapped somewhere where things repeat but not in a time loopy sort of way... 

The problem is that the internal logic of the film doesn't work at all. Where the film TIMECRIMES, which the film compares itself to, had an internal logic that became apparent once you got to a certain point BRIGHTWOOD doesn't. It's just odd thing after odd thing because it deems that is the way to go. The film is a loop because the filmmakers have called it that, but events don't really seem to replay as in other films, say the recent Japanese film RIVER, rather they just take different paths once they kind of "reset. There really isn't any explanation at all, there simply is just the pair reappearing and things happening. 

Frankly this isn't a science fiction film, but more like a couple who hate each other trapped on one of the planes of hell where their hatred for each other causes death and destruction to spiral ever outward. Or not. It depends on how you want to see.

While I think films don't have to explain what it is doing, I always hope there is some sort of internal logic. Films must make sense in their own world. A film can make no real-world sense as long as the world it creates feels as though it is working like a machine of alien origin. This film doesn't. I kept wanting to know why but each turn had things made less and less sense to me. (And I can't explain it because it doesn't make sense in the context of the film, so trying to explain it outside of that will make you think I'm insane.) To me this was just a series of nightmarish turns that happened because they created a kind of tension because we were off balance simply because we didn't know what was happening. This might have worked in the context of regular narrative/horror film (say a Fulci film) where you have the world and dimensions to work with, but in a feature as tightly wound as a loop film, it can't, the narrative is too focused and there has to be something more concrete than what we get here. (Which is why one of the circles of Hell idea works better).

I tuned out somewhere around the midpoint but hung around hoping it would pull it together, instead I got a bigger WTF for an ending.

I'd pass on this.

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