Monday, October 15, 2012


A young British woman is keeping a secret from her bloodthristy little half-sister: their father and 'lil sis's psychotic birth mother have just gotten out of the mental asylum. Big sis and dad are trying to take care of mom, but she may be slipping back to her old ways: cannibalism!

Frightmare is a twisted little oddity, a darkly humorous and character driven horror film that builds up to some agreeably effed up shit. Part of the fun is that, although the story isn't very complex, it's structured as almost a mystery; we're not sure at first how these characters are relate to each other and where exactly the story is heading. The film has a crafty narrative strategy of deliberately withholding information from the audience so it can lead them along by slowly doling it out. The story is surprisingly compelling considering all it comes down to is that a crazy old cannibal lady likes drilling holes in people's heads.

The one weird thing I noticed was the film's anti-psychiatry message. The film begins with the old couple being sentenced to go to a mental institution, and not to be released until they are definitively deemed safe to return to society. Cut to 15 years later, they are getting out, no more sane than when they went in: the system has failed. One of the main characters turns out to be a psychiatrist, and the character is shown to be a fatuous know it all, one who completely misreads the situation and stupidly puts himself into a dangerous situation. So fine, the filmmakers don't like shrinks (maybe they are Scientologists?), but then the movie doesn't seem to offer any alternate solution. If modern psychology can't help these nutcases, then what should have been done instead?

Rating: B-

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