This is She
Today’s film is the 2014 experimental horror film This is She directed by Tarik Karam and written by and starring Grace Rex. Also featureing Lois Lambrecht, Rick Alverson and Timothy Heck. It is currently being featured in the winter 2017 festival at Fandependent film festival and is in the running for the Fan Choice award.
This Is She is a strange tale focusing on a grieving woman (Grace Rex) as she moves into her new apartment after an unknown travesty stuck her previous partner. Upon moving into her new home she finds a disgusting black mold growing on her wall. At first merely an annoyance the woman soon discovers the mold is more than it seems as it constantly moves around her home at night and no matter how she scrubs it always returns. After a brief romantic encounter with a new man (Timothy Heck) the woman finds that her one true companion is this strange hairy mold that plays games with her. As she slowly pieces her life back together with the help of her parents and her new love she wakes one day to find the mold gone and her world looks brighter than it had before.
This Is She is a very strange movie that doesn’t really deserve to be labeled in the horror genre. In horror you expect some sort of tension filled scene that brings direct threat to the protagonist and the secondary characters around them, this simply doesn’t happen in this movie. What it does offer however is a very odd story that if I am correct in my assumption is a very subtle tale of loss, remorse, depression and finally acceptance. It is clear that the woman in the film is grieving over the loss of someone dear to her and the mold like substance on her wall seems to represent the darkness her mind is in at the start of the film. With the help of her parent’s voices (Lois Lambrecht and Rick Alverson) over the answering machine and the fling with her new boyfriend the woman seems to slowly recover and the darkness (AKA the mold) disappears from her life. If that is the case then this is a very well crafted piece of film that writer and star Grace Rex delivers to the viewer in a subtle way and really speaks to the quality of writing she can offer.
The acting in This Is She is as subtle as the story itself. While there is very little in the way of dialog in the film and what there is is offered off screen through phone messages overlaid on the film it does wonders to bring the feeling of the story to life. In voice acting you must really be believable and bring a full range of emotions without coming off as melodramatic and over the top and the three actors(Rex, Lambrecht and Alverson) do a fine job in this. As to the visual components of the acting range Grace Rex offers quite a intricate performance with her facial expressions and her body language throughout the film. She starts out small and damaged always hunkering in on herself and crying and toward the end when the film’s tone changes to bright colors and hope she offers beaming smiles and laughter, an all around solid performance.
The production value of the film is a bit hit or miss as it does have some technical issues. During the course of the film there are several spots where the cinematography takes a serious hit in the form of major glitches that leave large black lines across the film. While this happens only briefly it is very noticeable and really brings you out of the immersion of the story. When these artifacts are not on the screen however the picture is clear and runs smoothly with each shot being synced together carefully to bring you a cohesive (if confusing) story. Thankfully the camera work is steady and doesn’t shake or stutter throughout the film and if it wasn’t for the issues with the video glitches it would have been a wonderful cinematographic experience.
The audio department of the film on the other hand works quite well. First before I began let me give you a warning, if you are wearing headphones this is another film that will deafen you if you are not careful. The creepy and extremely loud music that plays at the beginning of the film sets the tone for a thrilling and frightening movie to come, though it never really reaches that climatic state the music implies. What little dialog there is between the characters is crystal clear and at all times audible even over the background music and there are no strange artifacts or annoying hissing that is all to common in many low budget films.
When all is said and done This Is She is a very strange movie that takes a great deal of thought on the viewer’s part to understand the subtleties of the film’s message. I have to admit it took me several viewings to come to my conclusions about the film and even now after watching it so many times I am still not one hundred percent certain I got the meaning behind the film correct. That said however it was a fairly well put together independent film that while it does have it’s technical faults was still enjoyable to watch even if it was quite confusing. At around ten minutes in run time this little mind boggling tale is certainly worth a view for anyone interested in genre defying, deep thought firms.