Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
The Purgation: Bad Karma from Childhood that Never Goes Away
you ever thought the kids from The
Goonies should be consigned to uncanny damnation, this is the film for you.
For a lark, Iris and her young pals decided to film their own scrappy horror
film in the basement of an abandoned asylum, but she would be the only to walk
out physically unscathed. However, she still carries the emotional scars from
that fateful day, so she will come walking back into the horror chamber as the producer
of a ghost-hunting reality show in Elaine Chu’s The Purgation (trailer here), which releases today on VOD.
watching their youthful misadventure, we can see why Iris couldn’t wait to get
out of Black Falls. Now she has returned, looking for closure and some good
footage. Ever since that day, Derrick has been nearly catatonic and Marlene has
been violently unstable. She is also blind, having gauged out her eyes.
Frankly, visiting them isn’t very reassuring, especially since it might just
stir up the evil entity. That could be “Sister” Agnes, a novice nun who was
rejected by her order due to her general insanity, so logically she took a
position as a psychiatric nurse. She or it doesn’t merely howl and rattle
chains. It will warp Iris’s reality, straining her sanity to the breaking
we should always review the film rather than its budget, but in this case, Purgation often looks like it was
sabotaged by its own financial constraints. Perhaps most unfortunate is the underwhelming
subterranean setting. Instead of giving the film a vivid sense of place (as in
the original Grace Encounters and Hollows Grove), the asylum sub-basement
just looks cramped and dingy—in the wrong sort of way. It is a shame, because
Chu’s second act freak-out is legitimately disturbing. In a departure from other
reality-problematizing films, she really gets at how terrifying it would be to
have the pins of your sanity kicked out from under you.
also violates the law of Chekhov’s gun, introducing Caden, Iris’s acknowledged imaginary
friend, who seems to have his own place in the kid’s social dynamics, despite
his lack of existence. In the prologue, he seems to ring with Stephen King-like
resonance, but he never factors down the stretch.
Still, there is something very unsettling about Purgation’s childhood roots (and it
should be noted Megan Truong has terrific poise and presence as young Iris). To
make matters creepier, the film is reportedly based on a real life DIY horror
movie field trip the young Chu once led her friends on. The stakes are high and
evil is very real and awfully nasty throughout Purgation. As a result, there are some scary moments in the film,
but it needed more cinematic locations. Earning mixed feelings and a mixed
recommendation (but leaving us receptive for Chu’s next film), The Purgation is now available on VOD
platforms from Osiris Entertainment.
Labels: Horror Movies, VOD