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There is a very good idea for a really intriguing, startling film here, that finally gets a little lost in its own freakily cosmic claustrophobia. Writer-director-stars Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead play Justin and Aaron, two orphan brothers who, 10 years previously, had been rescued from a weird cult and enjoyed a brief spasm of TV-news celebrity, regaling reporters with gory details about these creepy weirdos and their strange practices. But now, a decade later, they lead boring thirtysomething existences running an office cleaning firm, and one of them is beginning to think that their life in the cult was actually better: organically grown food and drink, a supportive family type community, a sense of purpose and oneness with the universe – and maybe they were imagining all the bad stuff. And the cult is still there, having been found to have broken no laws.
Then, summoned by a mysterious video, Justin and Aaron pay a visit to their former cult comrades and decide to stay the night. But having checked out of Hotel California all those years ago, maybe checking back in like this was a rash and unwise step.
It’s a weird sci-fi mystery thriller with elements of Shane Carruth’s lo-fi head-trips Primer and Upstream Color, Another Earth, the parallel-world fantasy scripted by and starring Brit Marling, and also Hideo Nakata’s J-horror classic The Ring. The opening scenes, showing the guys hanging out with these smiley, happy people, are very unsettling; especially the bizarre fireside ritual when each cultist is invited to have a tug-of-war on a rope, one end of which seems to be suspended somewhere up in the night sky. As for the rest of the baroque plot, it all hangs together, though maybe losing momentum, the performances are a little less than full-throttle. What strange, stark originality.
Source: The Guardian
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