Sunday, May 21, 2017

Short Recommendation : Ladykiller

A set of knives, skulls and occult imagery, a leather jacket and gloves. A young woman preparing to go out, getting followed down a dark alleyway, then a murder. This new two-and-a-half minutes Super-8 film by Alex Earl Gray, Ladykiller, culminates the work he's been doing in this particular form: a short story, shot on film, exquisite details, with eerie music. It's a real nightmare.
Ladykiller includes some impressive cross-cutting as the murderer (Gray) and the woman both simultaneously prepare their outfits before he mischievously stalks her. This cross-cutting creates symmetry between the two and an uncertainty about who's going to get killed. Their shared activity of picking the right accessory reflects Gray's own particularness as a director to fill the frame with exactly the right details to set the mood. This is what gives Ladykiller its alchemy: every particular detail is there for a reason and its sum is larger than its individual parts.
The young woman (Nanna María Björk Snorradóttir), and her gothic apartment, brings to mind the giallo films of Dario Argento and Harry Kümel's Daughters of Darkness. Her opaqueness recalls Samantha Robinson in The Love Witch and its general punk quality that of Scorpio Rising. There's an intimate portraiture quality to Ladykiller, which reflects Gray's background as a photographer, as the young woman's more vulnerable look is replaced by a second face, which has a more powerful and mysterious stare.

The story of Ladykiller is that of an old rock tune (Gray plays the guitar on its score): it captures the imagination of a nightmare that reveals a darker human nature. But the pleasant thing about Ladykiller is that Gray makes his work to share: you can easily find Ladykiller on YouTube. It's a fortuitous approach that brings this dark fantasy out to the world.

No comments: