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CREATURE 2013

From Sweden’s Ronny Carlsson, an evocative 43 minute head-scratcher involving a tormented woman, a house in a forest and a great deal of artful grotesquerie.

The Package
     The camera phone lensed CREATURE 2013, co-directed by its star Daniela Melin, is the final entry in a trilogy of sorts that commenced with RECOMPENCE (2010) and DUST BOX (2012). All are marked by highly enigmatic narratives, disarmingly placid rustic scenery and much traditional horror iconography (in this case an extremely gory special effects packed finale).
     Look for this one on DVD in 2014.

The Story
     The tormented Natalaya parks her car at the edge of a forest. Entering the forest--a flashback shows her arguing with her sister about doing so, with the latter advising against it--she heads to an abandoned house, apparently to face some none-too-pleasant memories. Upon entering Natalaya finds a room where something resides (we don’t get a full glimpse of what).
     Another flashback reveals Natalaya recounting childhood memories involving apples she coated with poisonous paint that were eaten by a man who later died.
     Back in the forest Natalaya takes a walk outside the house, but runs back in when what looks like a tall man with a towel wrapped around his head approaches. As night falls Natalaya tries to hide in the house, only to hear a voice outside growl “I can hear you.”
     Later she digs up a box in the forest, unearthing a roll of film and pieces of paper filled with odd drawings and symbols. She also confronts the spectral source of her torment, a meeting that ironically takes place in an urban setting of pipes and concrete, followed by a spectacularly gory final reckoning.

The Direction
     As in RECOMPENSE, CREATURE 2013’S luminous black-and-white photography is a standout, with the most effective scenes shot in pitch darkness with only a flashlight for illumination. The quick snatches of color are also extremely well utilized, creating an effectively jarring impression.
     Further standouts are the overtly surreal bits. The techniques employed--in particular the strobing lights accompanied by ominous sound effects--seemed a bit obvious to these eyes but did their job nonetheless, creating an atmosphere of hallucinatory apprehension and foreboding. The gory finale admittedly seemed a bit out of place amid an otherwise resolutely suggestive and atmospheric canvas, yet the blood-and-slime filled final scenes succeed in finishing things off in memorable fashion; it’s actually refreshing to see a horror-art film that doesn’t end in open-ended and/or inconclusive fashion.
     The ultimate impression is one of some nameless horror that’s forever out of reach. I won’t pretend to have entirely understood this film, but understanding doesn’t seem to be the point. As with all the finest horror-art films (such as ERASERHEAD and BEGOTTEN) it’s best to simply surrender oneself to all the superbly mounted strangeness, of which there’s plenty on display here.

 
Vital Statistics

CREATURE 2013
Film Bizarro Productions

Directors/Screenplay/Cinematography: Ronny Carlsson, Daniela Melin
Producer: Ronny Carlsson
Cast: Daniela Melin, Akinna Orbegah, Robert Ericsson  

     

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