Before I'm Dead

Before I’m Dead (2021)

Genre is often just a way to frame and to storify psychological experience, and this is certainly the case with Before I’m Dead. The feature may assume an increasingly mind-melting range of genre elements – space invasion, doppelgängers, time paradoxes, a looping trap (expressly compared to Harold Ramis’ Groundhog Day, 1993); and it may feature a…

Trans

Trans (2021)

Trans begins with a low-angle shot of an open window. It is the view from the classroom desk where Minyoung (Hwang Jeong-in) is currently slumped asleep, and a portal to a wider world beyond the schoolgirl’s confinement to her own adolescent problems. Minyoung does feel trapped. She wakes in a daze to watch two of…

Gehenna

Gehenna: Where Death Lives (2016)

Gehenna: Where Death Lives first published by SciFiNow Opening both with a Biblical quote (Matthew 18:9) in which the place name ‘Gehenna’ is used to denote a cursed hell, and with a horrific sequence set in 1670 Saipan, the plot of Gehenna: Where Death Lives is overdetermined by both theological and historical concerns. It unfolds…

Zoo-Head

Zoo-Head (2019)

In Zoo-Head, the latest feature from writer/director Navin Dev (Red Kingdom Rising, 2014), Charlie (Daniel Ahmadi) is stuck in a loop. It is not just that he has destroyed his memory and made one day blur into another with the illicit pharmaceuticals (known as ‘zootropics’) that he regularly consumes to escape the pain of his…

Triangle

Triangle (2009)

Triangle first published by Sight & Sound, Nov 2009 Review: “He cheated Death – no, he made a promise to Death that he didn’t keep. I studied it, but I can’t remember it.”  Standing before a painting of the Greek god of winds Aeolus, aboard an ocean liner bearing the same name, Sally (Rachael Carpani) tries…

Living

Living Space (aka Nazi Undead) (2018)

What goes around comes around. Steven Spiel’s feature debut was originally called Living Space, and has been travelling the festival circuit under that name. This title is also, in its context, overtly german(e), both as a phrase that, from the opening text onwards, repeatedly recurs within the film, and as a translation of the term Lebensraum…