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Friday, December 2, 2011

DVD Review: BENEATH THE FLESH (2009)

------Review by contributing writer Scott Baker------


BENEATH THE FLESH
Written & Directed by Randall Kaplan
Distributed by Pathfinder Pictures
 
I have always prided myself on my ability to interpret symbolism. Whether it be in a book or a movie, I can usually pick up the deeper meanings that are implied within certain things. But with that being said, I am completely lost as to what was going on in BENEATH THE FLESH.
If you're not familiar with this collection of short films, then you're not alone...I watched them, but am still clueless as to what I saw. Here is the plot synopsis courtesy of the DVD cover:

BENEATH THE FLESH is a collection of nightmares that will crawl under your skin and burrow its way into your mind. In 'Id', a man is tormented by a twisted creature in his apartment. In 'The Basement', two men confront each other in a damp, filthy basement. In 'The Child', a withered man nurtures a strange entity. In 'The Insides', a man believes something is growing inside of him. Finally, in 'Boxhead', an old man is visited by a childhood friend that could be his darkest nightmare. The victim in each story is forced to confront a fear that is eating them from the inside out. They will deal with this fear or die with it.

When I say I don't know whats going on in these films, I am not kidding. Each film is a head-trip that squeezes your brain as it tries to make sense of what it is seeing. 'Surreal' is about the closest word I can use to describe the feeling, although 'annoying' has to be close as well. I don't like it when I don't know what's going on, especially in a film.

Take, for example, the first film, 'Boxhead'. In this film, a wisp of a man is bullied and belittled by the people around him...as he talks to a weird paper-mâché looking creature in his apartment. Every now and then, the scene shifts to a young boy that crawls in and out of a box. That's it. No explanation or even real plot that I can find. I suppose the implication is that the little boy is the man as a child...but we never get any indication of that.

All of the films in this set are like that. And, all the films are directed by the same guy, director Randall Kaplan...which might explain the vagueness. I'm not saying he does not have talent. They are all shot well and have some excellent uses of lighting...but those are the only two positives I can list. Some might call these films experimental and some might label them as controversial. Me, I'm going to chalk them up to 'creative expression' and leave it at that.

I'm not recommending this collection, simply because none of the films entertained me. I was more annoyed than anything after I had watched them all, to be honest. I can certainly think of better ways to spend an hour of my life.
-MSB
 
 
CLICK HERE to watch the trailer
CLICK HERE to purchase the DVD
 

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