The Psychomanteum is
an artistic, gothic-horror short that creeps across the screen like a
black and white acid trip. If someone were to create a video
for the band Nine Inch Nails right after watching David Lynch's Eraserhead,
it might look something like this film. Created by Dave Holt, this
25 minute short is about as close as you can get to pulling a dream out
of your sleep and throwing it on the screen. I won't say that I've
never seen a film like it before, but I will say that it's rare to see a
film like this work as well as The Psychomanteum works.
It's clear that Mr. Holt is a competent filmmaker and if the purpose of
this film is to show what he is capable of, I think he has succeeded.
The storyline seems intentionally difficult to follow, but revolves
around a girl (played perfectly by Megon Kirkpatrick) who hears voices
in spite of taking medicine to control such things. Whether the
visions on the screen are in her head or in her past is unclear, but
they are startling visions either way; an eyeball pulsating in the wall
is stabbed with a knife and appears later in the mouth of the lead
character who also eats bloody bread, hits a couple of people with a
car, and holds her own brain in her hand. There isn't much dialog,
but a good bit of what is there is distorted and unintelligible.
The disturbing scenes actually are disturbing, which is another rare
achievement in independent film. Conceptually, this is not your
standard horror movie in any way. The packaging for the film looks professional.
The acting is good. The film is shot and edited very well.
Actually, a lot of the techniques that Mr. Holt uses don't usually work,
but in the context of The Psychomanteum, they really add to the
movie rather than detract from it. This film makes me want to see
more of Dave Holt's work and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys
dark, artistic imagery.
rating: 3 out of 5 (strange
and unusual gore)
0 out of 5