Directed by: Paddy Murphy
Run time: 88 minutes
The Lowdown: The Perished opens with a bunch of historical information about women in Ireland who were sent to ‘mother and daughter’ homes in order to have abortions.
From there, the film centers on Sarah (Courtney Mckeon), a young 20-something blonde who has unprotected sex with her boyfriend in the parking lot of a bar, gets pregnant and then berated by her overbearing mother for bringing shame on their family.
To say that The Perished is a heavy movie would be an understatement.
From that somber opening sequence of events, Sarah ends up seeking shelter in an abandoned former ‘mother and daughter’ home, where she quickly starts feeling the presence of something sinister.
That something fuels the narrative of The Perished, and challenges viewers to reconcile exactly what they’re seeing.
Is this a pro-life film disguised as a creature feature, similar to those religious haunted houses in the Midwest that take events like abortion and drunk driving and turn them into funhouse horror scenes?
Or is it a pro-choice screed hidden beneath the stretched skin and skeletal façade of a new kind of monster born from the worst decision that a mother ever has to make?
Thankfully, The Perished doesn’t linger too long on such thorny questions. By its third act, which ushers in the best part of the film, Murphy lets loose with the gore, delivering a taunt, unexpected climax that hits home like a sucker punch.
The Perished is both ambitious and problematic, but it’s definitely not your garden variety scary movie, and for that it deserves to be seen and debated.
The Stuff You Care About:
Hot chicks – Yes.
Nudity – No.
Gore – Minimal.
Drug use – No.
Bad Guys/Killers – A dead baby ghost monster.
Buy/Rent – Rent it.
The Night Clerk
Now on Video-on-Demand:
She’s Allergic to Cats (Giant Pictures, 82 minutes, Unrated, Video-on-Demand): Writer-director Michael Reich’s first feature, She’s Allergic to Cats, is quite literally unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
That should be cause for celebration by cinephiles who love avant-garde experimental movies that challenge expectations and upend traditional perceptions of how movies should be structured and unspooled.
But for the casual viewer, whose ranks make up a much larger chunk of the movie-renting and buying public, avant-garde and experimental also can be buzz words to avoid a movie simply because it’s not linear and it’s not easy to digest.
Reich clearly doesn’t care how his movie is received, and that’s not a criticism. He piles on with camera tricks, dissolves, flashing strobes and a recurring use of the grainy stutter-hitch we used to encounter with old VHS tapes.
He makes his audience work to get invested in his story of an aspiring Los Angeles filmmaker, also named Michael (Mike Pinkney), who works at a pet salon and is perhaps the worst dog groomer ever to hold a pair of shears.
Michael wants to direct a movie using real cats instead of people that reenacts the classic prom/pig blood scene from Carrie with Sissy Spacek and John Travolta.
His apartment is infested with rats. He hates his job. And his video-art projects are too abstract to capture an audience.
Then he meets Cora (Sonja Kinski), and his entire world gets flipped on its head.
She’s Allergic to Cats is a tough film to get through. It’s like deciding to watch a Harmony Korine movie and picking Trash Humpers as your first taste of his particular style of artistry. It’s like buying a ticket to Natural Born Killers and discovering that someone has re-edited Oliver Stone’s masterpiece to only show the scene with Woody Harrelson’s bloody, bald head as he laughs maniacally for nearly an hour and a half.
But there are people who will champion She’s Allergic to Cats, who will find meaning and hidden messages throughout Reich’s work, and that’s why you can never, ever discount or dismiss an artist for being fearless and totally committed to making his or her vision on their own terms without compromise.