Starring: Megon Kirkpatrick, Colleen O' Donnell, Helen Sanger Pierce, Dave Staley, Don Fuller, Delbert Briones
Year - 2007
Score - 4 Howls Outta 4
Visit The Psychomanteum Offical MySpace Page for more info and to request a copy of this short film.
THE PSYCHOMANTEUM is a short 25 minute film directed by up-and-coming director Dave Holt and Art In Film Productions that's less of a film and more of a mindfuck into a world that many of us will never understand. This experience is about a young woman played by Megon Kirkpatrick who seems to be stuck in a room called the psychomanteum [which is supposed to help you make contact with the dead by inducing you into some kind of altered state]. She has random seizures and fits with people that she either knows or just pop up out of nowhere to tell her to take her meds and that she needs to deal with the darkness. Apparently as she continues to take her drugs, her condition gets worse to the point where random images pop up, showing us how visibly tormented she is.
Honestly, I can't really tell you what this film is really about. It's all subjective in nature. Hell, I'm still trying to figure out what was going on. Was this a dream? Were these images and scenerios an allegory for her unbalanced mental state? Was she dead and stuck in some kind of hellish limbo she couldn't get out of? Anyone who watches this will have their own interpretation of what's really happening here.
Dave Holt has done what most independent directors have failed to do as far as I'm concerned: make me feel really uncomfortable. And that's a good thing. His imagery and the way he shoots the film in these angles, jump cuts, and in beautiful black and white cinematography really enhances the level of this film experience. Images like eyes in mouths, a moving hand extending itself out of a painting, a spider skull, and etc. really disorient the viewer. It reminded me of that Madonna video, "Bedtime Story", where striking images would totally grab your attention, even if you didn't know how they all related to each other or what they even meant as a whole. Plus gothic music and distorted voices really enhance the mood and dark atmosphere of this film. It all stuck with me even after the 25 minutes were over. I never want to experience a nightmare like that in real life.
Some people complained about the time issue and the over-the-top acting in the film. That stuff usually bothers me too, but not here. I think 25 minutes is actually PERFECT for a film like this because it's effective. Making it longer would lose what makes this experience so special to begin with. Plus this is a film dealing with the abnormal. I don't expect straight acting going on during something that's abnormal. The fact that it's over-the-top makes the film even more effective, in my opinion. I literally thought I was losing my mind watching this film. I wouldn't change a thing.
THE FINAL HOWL - Another must-see film if you like films that fuck with your head and actually give you more questions than answers. I don't know why it took me this long to watch THE PSYCHOMANTEUM, but it was worth the wait. Dave Holt is gonna be a filmmaker to watch out for in the near future. I can't wait to see what he'll come up with next.