Thursday, August 26, 2010


Lo was not at all what I was expecting it to be. It's a film that markets itself as a horror film with a slight love twinge, but is quite the opposite. Lo is actually the story of love, loss and deception.

Oh, and smoking hellions
The story begins in a dark room. A man is conducting some kind of ritual, but clearly has no idea what he's doing. The filmmakers tell you nothing of the man and barely a word is spoken for the first five or so minutes. We soon discover the man is named Justin and he's hoping to summon a hellion to help him discover what happened to his girlfriend April. She's been kidnapped by a demon and he wants her back. Motherfucker apparently has no problem calling on the power of hell to do it THAT'S devotion!

Sadly Justin Failed his Demonic Summoning final by 3 points
Lo is essentially the equivalent of a "clip show" flashing back to events from the past without ever actually leaving the present. The film incorporates an interested way of handling  these flashbacks. Lo projects Justin's thoughts onto a stage in the form of short plays where from certain angles you can see the other actors back stage smoking (or fucking, though no nudity) . It becomes pretty apparent though that Lo is obviously using Justin's memories to service some ulterior motive though. The Hellion begins twisting the truth and putting words into the mouths of the actors. What is this beast trying to accomplish? Is there something going on below the surface that no one is telling us about? Is there really a god?! WHO KNOWS?! you'll just have to watch the film to find out (well except for that god one...but that's a conversation for a different time)

The Minimalist set design and very low budget feel to the movie might turn some viewers off to the film, but I can assure you that Lo is worth the watch. Some of the comedy misses the mark a little, but that just stands to make the flick that much more endearing. It's a fun little offbeat love story that just happens to have the occult, demons, hellions and a couple of bloodied naked people writhing behind a sheet talking about the torture they go through in hell when they're not bickering like a married couple.  

if you look, you'll see the wall in the background is a set painting
Jeremiah Birkett handles the role of Lo with such antagonism that you will be swimming in his lines for days after watching it. I can pretty much guarentee that by the time the movie ends you'll be calling whoever you watched it with "dinner" (which is what he called Justin throughout the film). The actors who play Justin and April are a tad amatuerish, but fun enough to watch making, in the end, Lo a great bit of fun for an evening where you need a little romance, but with a serrated edge.  

4.5 out of 5

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I Stand Alone

Last night I watched the film I Stand Alone, a French film boasting "Please note that some scenes in this film are highly graphic and sexual in nature." I'll start off by saying that almost nothing in the film was highly graphic unless I slept through it. What the movie is, however, is intense. It's a story of a man who, after losing his job, slowly starts to spin out of control. He quickly loses his grasp on reality and goes on a theoretical killing spree. That is to say that he talks an awful lot about killing people.

From the moment the movie starts I was certain it was going to be another french shockfest filled with disturbing sex scenes and brutal violence (a la Catherine Breillat). I was grossly mistaken. I have to admit though that my expectations did come slightly from how it was marketed on netflix, but should have known better. There is exactly one brutally violent scene in the film where the main character, simply referred to as "the butcher", knees and punches his pregnant girlfriend in the stomach killing the baby and one disturbing sex scene involving the butcher and his daughter. If that's enough to turn you off to the film then it's probably best that you not watch it anyway.

I thoroughly enjoyed the film though, despite my disappointment in lack of violence. The Butcher's descent into madness is jaw dropping at times and borderline tear jerking at others. If you don't hate the Butcher by the end of the film then you probably have no soul, but at the very least you can sympathize with his madness. I Stand Alone is a dark look at one man's growing isolation in a world he barely wants to be in anymore. A slow spiral from wanting to make a better life for himself to wanting to kill everyone he sees, including himself. Once the Butcher pops back into reality at the end of the film you discover that maybe he had a better plan in his fantasy world.

4.5 out of 5 stars