Much like Gerard Lough's The Stolen Wings, my biggest complaint about Deviant would have to be that it is far too short. This doesn't necessarily mean that it doesn't succeed at what it sets out to do: It most certainly does. As a refreshingly straightforward depiction of a quirky prowler's latest home invasion, it manages to place you smack in the middle of a state of unease. We can't help but watch this short with some degree of nervousness because this man (frequent Lough collaborator Michael Parle) may as well be in our house--it's a testament to the very deliberate pacing.
Lough allows the events in Deviant to unfold very slowly, much in that same, meticulous way you'd expect a skilled prowler to think. There's the matter of sneaking in undetected, spying any window that may be open, any door that may be unlocked. There's the matter of actually slinking around without making much noise, ever conscious of the sounds of our footsteps on the floor. Then there's the matter of leaving your mark--if you're smart about it, leaving your mark means being able to leave the premises later on with the knowledge that you've been in there while the inhabitants were asleep, you've had a look at their precious belongings (even defiled a few), you've possibly had the gall to use their toothbrush, but you'll be damned if they ever figure it out! You may as well be an apparition. You may as well not have done it. You may as well have yourself a drink, because another day's gone by, the papers haven't been alerted and no one knows your name.
But what if you, the great home invading expert, forgot something? Forgot one minor detail that you know, to the inhabitants of the house, will stick out more obscenely than snow in July? That's the narrative crux of Deviant. Michael Parle turns in some excellent work, creating a very distinct character with whose dilemma we can dare to identify. Watching him slowly make his way through this house allows us to observe him at his most intimate. We find ourselves feeling for him and even thinking as he does: How is he going to get out of this one?
This is the third film of Lough's I've reviewed and the second I'm pleased to review at his very own personal request. I think he has exceptional talent and I think that with the proper project, he could become a name to remember in the horror genre. He guides Deviant with the same confidence as his other two projects, always with the end in mind, always acutely aware of the little details that give birth to such an intriguing atmosphere. His use of the same blue-purple filter he utilised in The Stolen Wings shrouds his film in a dank, ugly light (and it is a compliment when I say that he is not afraid to let his films get ugly, nor should he; just look at the material he's working with!). And once again, he uses Cian Furlong's musical score with the sensitivity required to establish a mood worth remembering. Deviant certainly is.
But what of a full length feature film? Wouldn't it be far more awesome if we got to see this man work his magic with a bigger budget to his credit? As long as he imbues a feature length version of Deviant with the same disregard for unnecessary dramatics, that same willingness to allow the material to build and build and build to a discomforting finish, then he'll have me for a fan. We need more of that in horror films, for one. And for another, I know I'd be the first to jump in line and watch it.
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