Thursday, December 8, 2016

Horror that's expressive -- and weird

It doesn't take long to realize why the artfully eerie Eyes of My Mother caused a bit of a stir at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival. In many ways, Eyes of My Mother qualifies as a festival programmer's dream, a artfully made black-and-white debut film that takes place in an isolated farmhouse, site of lots of homegrown weirdness. Divided into three parts, this 76-minute hunk of horror focuses on various stages in the life of Francisca (played as a young woman by Kika Magalhaes, a woman who lives with the macabre. It's probably best that you don't know a lot about the movie before you see it, but I will tell you that director Nicolas Pesce introduces twists that are not for the squeamish. I say this even though the worst of the movie's psychologically twisted violence takes place off camera. If I tell you that in the early going, Francisca's mother (Diana Agostini) removes an eye from the severed head of a cow that she's deposited on her kitchen table, you'll get the idea. It's part of one of Mom's home-style lesson on vision. Creepy to the max, The Eyes of My Mother includes murder and torture -- all presented in an atmosphere that has been designed to immerse us in Francisca's impossibly isolated existence. I guess I'd sum things up this way: Pesce has the skills to unsettle, but he's applied them in a way that may appeal only to a narrow slice of even the audience for horror.

No comments: