The Adams Family are back with another home run. Most importantly they have not only hit it out of the park they did so in a completely new way. God bless them and their ability to give us something new every time out of the box. I think that this means that they are officially among the best filmmakers (full stop no qualifiers) working today. As for genre directors I'll say top somewhere in the top three simply because I'll let you slot them.
This time out the Adams don't give us any quarter from frame one. Beginning with a legless man shuffling out on stage to read a poem about the devil we are completely ill at ease. The film then shifts to depression era America where a troop of performers travel the country performing terrible acts on themselves and the unfortunate people they run across. This is a true nightmare made real and it doesn't end until the end credits roll/
How good is this film - I was so disturbed I wanted to stop watching it. This is a world that I quite simply wanted no part of. I never left, but lord knows I wanted to run away.
This is a true horror film. This is a film, like all the Adams' films, where there are no real jump scares, no trappings of typical modern horror with thundering scores, bright colors and the like. This is a film where mood and quiet acts are devastatingly everything. People will talk about things and then when we see something after that make our insides knot up. For example, the long poem that begins the film sets the tone and the mood for everything that follows. You are put on notice as each line of the poem is referenced, and you realize where things are going (straight to hell). Each terrible act feeds into the next. It's a film that wants to do more than just scare you but wants to get under your skin and walk around a while.
To be honest my desire is to sit down and discuss everything that happens, but I'm not going to do that. Most of you reading this piece haven't seen the film yet and as such it will not be fair to you to spoil what happens. I would like to point out a couple of technical turns that help things along- first is the world of the film is forever overcast. I don't think we ever see the sun or the blue sky and as such it's a dark world. Add to that the color of the world, like the lives of the people on screen dies as the film goes on. The film begins with a black and white segment and by the end it kind of returns there but darker, with what color there is slowly bleeds away and the film becomes a dark place whose images resemble a dark dream you have when you're twisted in bed sheets and suffocating on your pillow.
The film gets worse the more you think about it. I say that because not only do you start to piece things together, but you start to see how the film is playing thematically. This film is a dark mediation on what we do to succeed, the nature of love and family. I don't have a lot to say on this just yet since I'm still recovering from bleakness of the film and I'm trying to find myself a little daylight away from the dark head space.
I don't know what to say beyond that other than this film is a masterpiece on every level. It is one of the very best films (full stop, no qualifier) of the year.