Pop Skull depicts the lonely and disjointed life of Daniel, a young Alabama pill addict, as his efforts to cope with the trials of his day-to-day life collide with the increasing influence ...
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Karla Jean Davis
Pop Skull depicts the lonely and disjointed life of Daniel, a young Alabama pill addict, as his efforts to cope with the trials of his day-to-day life collide with the increasing influence of murderous and displaced spirits that inhabit his home. Written by
I was surprised by this film. It reminded me of some Japanese ghost stories I've seen, which are always unsettling especially after the film when you think it over, and those creepy images start to spill into your every day life. At the same time, Pop Skull featured some innovative depictions of hallucinatory states of mind which I thought were sometimes a little obscure, but other times a useful device for conveying complex emotional states in a character who is verbally rather simple. For some reasons, many of these images -- which are often juxtapositions, stops and starts, changes of speed, transformations, flickering and strobing--seem 'accurate'; in other words, though obscure, they convey a meaningful insight into the mind of a character, yet they leave a lot to the imagination, and make you wonder about the mysterious things lurking around in the psyche. Some may argue that they are just artsy, pretensions -- perhaps even a bit emoish and laughable. Perhaps. The last time I saw anything quite like it was in Gaspar Noe's 'Enter the Void', but the imagery in Pop Skull is more obscure and personal leaving a lot of mystery about exactly what the protagonist in the story is going through internally over a painful event in his life. The storyline itself is not that complicated, but the alternate realities that go along with the story add an intriguing element to the film. I think mood is the key strength of this film. There's a mood of confusion, depression, fear, and encroaching madness, that you expect from a good horror movie. I have to admit too, that I wasn't really expecting the film to go in the direction that it did. So it has some surprises, some mystery, and a good sense of pacing which builds up the suspense fairly well. To call this movie a horror story is fitting, but it is atypical for American horror films. I'll bet that David Lynch could appreciate this film for its power to suggest things to you rather than explicitly feed it to you. I would actually watch it again as I did with 'Enter the Void' just out of curiosity over the various levels of meaning the hallucinatory episodes suggest -- especially in how they tie into the plot, and relate to a characters thought process (however disjointed it may be). I'm looking forward to seeing some of Adam Wingard's other films now.
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