The Taste of Adulthood – Raw (Grave)

As much as I adore films that deal with the tricky subject of “coming of age” and discovering true adulthood (all the delights and horrors of it), they usually deal with the concept of responsibility, most likely presented with the toolset of a comedy. Richard Linklater’s movies are a fine example of this. Now, Belgian-French movie Raw (Grave, 2016) takes a different approach.

Its protagonist is Justine, a lifelong vegetarian who starts her first semester at a veterinary school. Here she encounters bizarre initiation rituals involving blood and eating raw meat – at one point she’s forced to eat a rabbit’s kidney. In an exaggerated way it makes sense – these rituals are tied to the concept that a veterinarian should be able to deal with blood and internal organs without flinching, so there you have a first test (a first taste) of what’s to come. Justine’s older sister is already attending to this school, but instead of helping her get out of that situation, she encourages Justine to comply. Continue reading “The Taste of Adulthood – Raw (Grave)”


The Messy Road to Gnosis – A Dark Song

I think it’s fair to say that I never saw a film quite like this.

I consider myself well-versed both in horror cinema and the occult, but this is the first time I saw a fairly accurate representation of a real, balls-to-the-walls ceremonial magic ritual, at least based on the Hermetic / Gnostic tradition. To say it’s well-researched is an understatement: I’d bet writer-director Liam Gavin knows this stuff by heart, and it shows in every scene.

This movie is about the ritual itself. It shows both the motivation behind it and its consequences, but nothing more. A woman, Sophia tries to deal with the loss of her child, and a reluctant occultist helps her to do a ritual which requires months of isolation, fasting and true commitment to all things terrifying. That’s the film. That’s it. And it’s glorious. Continue reading “The Messy Road to Gnosis – A Dark Song”

Simulation Fatigue in Black Mirror

Black Mirror needs to reinvent itself. The sooner, the better.

Don’t get me wrong. The fourth season has cleverly written, beautifully directed episodes throughout, as usual. It’s still the prime science-fiction anthology, and one of the most relevant TV series, even if contemporary science-fiction writers and futurologists already explored most of its ideas. The problem is, the new season didn’t have any new ideas, at all.

At this point, most episodes of Black Mirror boil down to the same two premises:

  • Invasive technology will destroy our privacy
  • Our digital copies will live in existential nightmare

Five out of six episodes are variations of these themes, and both have been done before, with more subtlety. In this regard, I’m quite disappointed. Continue reading “Simulation Fatigue in Black Mirror”

The Comedy in Get Out

Last year Get Out was nominated for a Golden Globe in the category of Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy. Many consider Get Out one of the best horror films of 2017. I was intrigued for months, but I rarely watch movies nowadays, but I decided to see Get Out for myself and see whether it’s a comedy or a horror. Well, I found out it’s neither, but can be interpreted as both, and it’s really fascinating to see why.
Get Out is… interesting. It certainly plays with horror tropes, probably taking inspiration from works such as The Wicker Man and The Stepford Wives (and their derivatives), but it’s also very clear from the first minute that this story is a statement about representation of black people, highlighting causal (and perhaps unintentional) racist behavior. Continue reading “The Comedy in Get Out”