Sisters of the Plague
- 1h 12min
Sensing evil, a haunted house tour guide seeks a medium's help only to be warned that she is facing a vengeful power beyond her control.Sensing evil, a haunted house tour guide seeks a medium's help only to be warned that she is facing a vengeful power beyond her control.Sensing evil, a haunted house tour guide seeks a medium's help only to be warned that she is facing a vengeful power beyond her control.
First of all, there are two types of acting - the first and most common is cinematic acting in which the camera is in cahoots with the actor. There is nothing particularly authentic about it in terms of how actual people speak or act, though through the medium of film it can nonetheless communicate truth in a sort of heightened reality way.
The second and far more uncommon is the sort of naturalistic performances you find here, which - save for the moments of supernatural or psychological abormalcy - approximate how people tend to speak and talk. It is always amusing to find this in movies (almost always independent ones) and people to criticize the acting because they're not getting the acting school diction and perfectly clean dialogue you're used to in Hollywood films. Here, as in real life, people occasionally trip over a word, or insert "likes" in the irritating but actual way people do in real life.
But we're in not in Hollywood. We're in New Orleans, and the really commendable thing that happens here is the filmmakers allow New Orleans to be as it is today. Most films that take place in New Orleans either visit the city's past, or blot out what defines its present: tourists, modern buildings, modern cars. The choice to approach things this way was either conscious or a matter of budget, but in any case it actually works to further the film's atmospheric goals: we exit cinematic space and feel like we're watching all of this business happen to actual people. I kept feeling like there was something eternal and percolating under the modernity that transforms locales as the times change: sure every trapping of modern life is there, but then, so is the New Orleans of our imaginations. And which is stronger, and which will outlast the other?
The movie stops being "fun horror" and starts being genuinely hostile to the audience as it rolls on, and I mean that in the best way.
The camera is often slightly unsteady - no tripod for much of it, and instead mostly hand-held (and notably, not always - steady shots and slow zooms are interspersed as scenes require). The camera work here really amplifies what is happening in a way which is difficult to describe.
The effect is that as the audience, I felt like a ghost watching this bizarre tale happen to complete strangers - you feel invisible, but present. The camera is pushed up way into the action as if we're a few feet away for most of it. It feels voyeuristic sometimes and even kind of invasive.
There aren't any jump scares here. There's no horror movie pattern to latch on to; something inscrutably terrible is happening, and we are right there in these rooms and beds watching it in a way which feels fairly illicit.
Definitely not for everyone but as far as I am concerned a very effective and even anti-Hollywood piece of independent horror. There is no way they'd get away with this in the mainstream.
I liked it a lot.
- Apr 9, 2018