Sunday, June 3, 2012

Summer of Scares: Keyhole (C)

What an odd little experiment.

From the mind of the seemingly indisputably, seriously disturbed surrealist filmmaker Guy Maddin, comes the perverse bizarre nightmare of a neo-noir Keyhole; a film whose very plot description seems like a rejected ramble for the equally strange, though much more likable, SNL character Stefon. A group of 30's styled gangsters led by the charismatic Ulysses (Jason Patrick) hide out in a dreamlike haunted mansion after committing an unmentioned crime. However, Ulysses has ulterior motives when choosing the hideout; he is a former resident of the mansion, and seeks forgiveness from the ghost of his wife for the death of their three children. Though that synopsis may sound relatively normal, here are a few more unmentioned plot points and characters which should change your opinion fairly quickly...

  1.  The movie is narrated by the ghost of a nude, obese elderly man, who is chained to his daughter's bed
  2. Maddin seems to have an obsession with pointless perversity. Evidence of this can be found in the film's multiple unnecessary nude scenes, and an even better example would be at one point an erect penis can be shown sticking out of a random wall. Most of this is never explained, and serves no real purpose.
  3. Many plot points, such as the unmentioned crime which drove the gangsters to the mansion, along with entire characters, are seemingly forgotten as the film progresses.
  4. Several twists regarding character identities, most of which make little sense considering the events which came before the reveal.
This is a movie which I feel uncomfortable calling a "movie." Instead, it's an experiment; a stylistic attempt to make the audience feel as uncomfortable as humanly possible; to visually recreate a nightmare. Performances don't necessarily factor into the film's goal; every actor plays the material as over-the-top dramatic as possible, and does little to turn their character into something three dimensional. Keyhole is a hodgepodge of strangeness for the reasons I listed above, and doesn't necessarily try to be anything more than that. Though perhaps Maddin would say the film was designed to tell a story how certain characters move from Point A to Point B, from my experiences with the film I'm not necessarily sure. However, in terms of making the audience feel incredibly uncomfortable, he certainly succeeded. Unless you fully understand what you're going to watch before hand, you might not want to look through the Keyhole.

Grade: C
Level of Terror: Unsettling

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