Despite its lackluster title Dead Visions, written and directed by an anonymous man from the New England area really gets under your skin. It’s more of an art film than anything, not having much in the way of a linear narrative. I first saw the film at a basement screening at a local film critic’s house (in the interest of full disclosure, he is a dear friend). Said friend had found the DVD screener in his mailbox one evening, and to his credit, he waited until I could come over the following day to watch the film.
Never in all my years of watching cinema have I been so simultaneously perplexed and unnerved by a film. I’d love to tell you my omission of images from the film is due to a desire to not spoil the surprise for you, but alas, it’s more accurately due to the fact I can’t really remember much of the movie. Dead Visions is like a fever dream. I recall a few scenes, though how much my memory has filled in the gaps is hard to say.
In one scene, a naked man and woman are having sex in a graveyard, amidst the headstones. A quick cut and simultaneous high pitched metal screeching noise follows, after which we see the same couple, still nude mind you, digging up a grave. At this point the score, previously ambient, has a violin track begin, and we see the naked couple dancing with the decaying corpse we are led to believe they just dug up. Such things are far from unique for a horror film, if this is indeed what Dead Visions is supposed to be, but it is the juxtaposition of camera angles and the timing of the cuts that makes the scene so disturbing. And, there is one other element to the scene, but for the life of me, I can’t recall what said element is right now.
In another scene, the chronology of which in the film I am woefully out of touch with, what appears to be a dead cat is chanting in Latin. The rotting body of the animal is in a bathtub, yet the little feline mouth opens and closes to reveal the voice of a human woman, and its furry chest vibrates with the sounds it’s producing, which are quite loud. I think there is a sepia filter thrown over this scene, and there is another thing in the corner which dances and laughs, but I’m really having trouble remembering what it looked like.
“You know you’re going to die, right? You know I’m coming to kill you, right?”
These words are said by a homeless man in another scene, a long shot which holds for a good five minutes, as he stares intensely from his position inside a dark, trash strewn alley.
Or maybe… maybe that was earlier. I’m sorry, I know this breaking the fourth wall which is generally frowned upon in a review, but ever since my first viewing of Dead Visions, I’m having trouble separating scenes from the film with things that have occurred to me in the last few days. I honestly couldn’t say if I went back home after watching the film at my friend’s house.
Dead Visions really does seem innocuous enough at first. A horror film which veers towards the arthouse side of things, with a strange score, and a great marketing ploy. Leaving it anonymously in the mailboxes of film critics without any return address or information about the source is genius marketing for a horror film.
Except… well, how are you supposed to buy the film if there are no credits? Yeah, it creates a great mystique around Dead Visions but how are you supposed to make a profit, and get into festival screenings if you don’t tell people who you are?
I think I killed my friend. There was a scene of me killing my friend in the film, but how is that possible? Unless I made the film, but I don’t remember making a film? I definitely wouldn’t call my movie Dead Visions either. Like I said, it’s a really trite title.
I’ve tried calling my friend, and he isn’t answering. I walked onto the Zakim Bridge to get better reception. Did I tell you yet about the scene in the film where I jump off the Zakim Bridge to my death? In the next scene the authorities are baffled why I did it, but then they discover the dead body of my friend with his guts strewn across the floor of his basement, and they find a DVD screener with nothing written on it. When they play the DVD, all they see are POV shots of someone wandering around at night, mumbling Dead Visions over and over, filming pedestrians. There may or may not be a scene where someone kills my friend.
Anyway, if you can, I highly recommend Dead Visions. For fans of losing all touch with reality, being led to murderous rampages, and dead cats chanting in Latin, Dead Visions, is the film for you. I do have to give a TRIGGER WARNING for people who don’t want to dance and laugh with terrible things from the blackest midnight, or murder their best friends, and definitely don’t watch Dead Visions if you like living, and don’t want to end your life in a way most terrible.
Sean M. Thompson is a writer from Boston. He has a B.A. in English from The University of Massachusetts. He loves horror and anything weird. You can find him at SpookySean.com