Wednesday, July 11, 2007
The Psychomanteum (2007)
Have you ever fallen into a fevered dreamscape where blackness threatens to crush you but at the same time everything seems tightly stretched? Where images swirl and eddy in the inky black pools of your subconscious as you try to grasp at any sense of reality? If you’ve experienced any of these disorienting symptoms, chances are you’ll be very familiar with the nightmarish vision of The Psychomanteum, a short avant-garde film by Dave Holt.
The surreal film won’t be for everyone, but for those that enjoy intense imagery and avant-garde filmmaking, The Psychomanteum is spellbinding. The film concerns a young, troubled woman on a dark journey. We see into her violent past, her vicious encounters with several people, intense appointments with her psychiatrist and a look deep within her psyche. Everything is a jumble of intense, nightmarish visuals until the end of the film, where we come to understand the method to the madness, so to speak.
The Psychomanteum is a rich and visually hypnotizing film, one that had me glued to my seat for its entire 25 minute run-time. Filmed entirely in black and white, it doesn’t feature much dialogue, instead utilizing an eerie score that leads us further and further into darkness. The film’s grainy and scratched look gives it a more sinister and fragmented feel, much like the main character’s mind. The brief flashes of images and intense visuals add to the disorienting feel of the film.
Filmmaker Dave Holt has crafted a film of transfixing power from the hidden darkness found deep inside each and every one of us. Each scene carries a strong visual that has been lovingly shot. Each image, no matter how fleeting, is beautifully composed. The film can best be compared to a piece of art, with each haunting scene invoking a multitude of emotions. If Holt set out to create a dark vision of beauty, he had decidedly accomplished that goal with the jaw-droppingly stunning Psychomanteum.
The Psychomanteum is definitely not for everyone. It lacks a straightforward plot and other conventions of a standard movie that most people are used to. Still, if you want to see art within a nightmarish horror film that plays upon emotion with striking visuals, The Psychomanteum comes highly recommended. Just don’t get too mesmerized by its eerie, dark charms and tumble into its nightmare world forever…
Psychomanteum’s Official Site