Thursday, September 12, 2013
INSANE, MIND BOGGLING..AND DOWNRIGHT BEAUTIFUL: A Review Of EXHUMED
Have you ever passed by one of those old mansions in your neighborhood and thought about the fact that you never see the people who live there..? Perhaps you've never encountered that, but when I lived in Glens Falls I did all the time. And considering I was a child then, I pondered on it alot. Who were these people? Why did I never see them? Were they up to something..Strange? Richard Griffin (director of The Disco Exorcist) explores this very topic in hi 2011 film EXHUMED.
EXHUMED Tells the story of a group of strange people who have taken to living in an old large house together. There's Rocki, the wild, fun loving, very sexual twenty-somthing, Laura, the innocent, mentally scarred woman-child, Lance, the middle aged loser, The Governess, a violently insane unpredictable recluse and self proclaimed ruler of the household, and The mysterious character known only as The Butler. For years the group has lived separated from society, choosing to stay inside other then the brief foray into town for supplies. When the Butler decides the house ha become too empty he decides to advertise a room for rent but when The Governess doesn't care for the new tenet and his interest in young Laura, a spur of the moment act of violence changes the group forever. And we quickly find out that once The governess sheds blood..She gets a taste for it.
With crisp, smokey black and white permeating the majority of the film and vibrant color used to showcase memories and fantasy, the cinematography here was breath taking, bringing to mind earlier Tim Burton film before he became a pompous self absorbed prick and started making cash cows instead of movies. The choice to use color for memories and fantasy worked beautifully to illustrate how bleak and devoid of love and compassion the house had become. The use of strange overhead, sideways and wide angle shots created an unease and really showcased just how talented of a director Griffin really is. There was also elements of this film that reminded me of Eraser Head, in that it seemed nightmare-like and unreal. It made me feel simultaneously uneasy and enchanted.
The character development here was another point of wonder. Each and every member of the home seemed very alive, with not a single 2-D character in the mix, and I couldn't help but respond emotionally when one of them was hurt or dealing with confusion or other difficult emotions. I can honestly say that if Griffin were to make a separate film for each of these characters I'd watch every one of them.
The Butler in particular was the one that caught my attention. With his father-like compassion in some scenes and dark, meticulousness in others, this was a character we could never really get a handle on. It came across at first that he was seeking companionship but as the film progressed more and more It seemed he was more concerned with filling the house..Almost as if he were feeding it. It was also a point of interest that while he played the role of butler, he was the real leader of the household, allowing the Governess to believe she had the power but always having the last say.
The story here was vague and mysterious, which worked really well for it, creating an intimacy and realness you aren't likely to discover in a film with more defined story and guidelines. Overall it came across almost as a modern day FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER, in fact the whole affair had a very Poe-like flavor and managed to capture Poe's spirit more then any film I have ever seen that was literally based on his work.
I give this film 2 middle fingers cut off and sanded to the bone. It's disturbing, mysterious and downright stunning. I highly recommend you picking this one up immediately.