31 Days of Horror: “Lace Crater” Is Indie Horror at It’s Best.

 
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Posted October 8, 2016 by

 
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What a year, for indie horror! While blockbuster, studio films largely disappointed, and 90% of the films out there were re-makes, reboots, or some other re-nonsense, indie horror has a banner year. Up until this point, “Sun Choke” and “Harvest Lake” were my two surprise, low-budget, horror flicks of the year. Well make room, because “Lace Crater” just blew my mind! Not only does writer/director Harrison Atkins impress, with his debut feature film, but he announces himself as a new, exciting voice in independent film.

Ruth (Lindsay Burdge giving a career-making performance) is on a much needed getaway, with her friends (Jennifer Kim, Keith Poulson, Andrew Ryder, and Chase Williamson), in the Hamptons. After a night of drinking and molly-taking, Ruth retires to the guest house, which the owners claim is haunted. Indeed it is haunted, which Ruth discovers, when she meets a burlap-covered, spectral lad named Michael (Peter Vack). Michael is friendly, and awkward, and intrigues Ruth, with his soft-spoken personality. He intrigues her so much that she has sex with him… and gets a ghostly STD in the process. In the days following, Ruth slowly loses her grip on reality.

lace-crater-2The things I found most enjoyable (some will find it frustrating), about “Lace Crater”, was the way it bounces between themes and moods. It starts off as a kind of typical indie dramedy, with a group of attractive 30ish year-olds drinking and having quasi-intellectual conversations about love and self-importance. Then it takes a turn towards sexual politics, mixed with horror (as is often the case), and it ends up as a psycho-thriller, body horror. The ever-changing style is aided by an eerie score from Alan Palomo, and some trippy cinematography by Gideon de Villiers.

The glue keeping this manic movie together is Burdge. Giving one of the best performances of her young career, she capably handles the emotional demands of her character’s experience. She depicts the breakdown of Ruth’s sanity with a delicate profoundness, that kept my eyes glued to the screen. Atkins wisely uses her depiction of mental discord as a vehicle, for his film’s off-kilter moods and creepy imagery.

Weird though it may be, “Lace Crater” demands the viewer’s uninterrupted attention. Both Atkins’ directorial style and Burdge’s acting ability are in full effect, to make this a must see for fans of independent cinema. It is certainly one of the bigger pleasant surprises of 2016.


MikeD

 


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