Atmo HorrorX (2016) [Fantasia International Film Festival]

atmohorrorxThis review must start with a warning: Even though this reviewer watched this movie attentively, getting any of it was very, very difficult; if not nary impossible, so external information sources had to be sought, mainly from IMDB and the Fantasia program book.  That being said, let’s start with its official summary on IMDB: “Through a surreal chase of spying, Catafuse, a dubiously dressed creature, hunts humans with the help of Molosstrap.  But in a world ruled by the pharma industry, reality becomes so complex, that the mastering of insanity might just be the only way out.”

Having watched the film and tried to understand, there is no way this reviewer got this out of it.  It’s possible that going in almost completely blind except for a few images seen before the viewing did not help.  The story felt like scenes of one character now guessed to be the Catafuse mentioned above where he goes from set-up to set up wearing nothing but all over stockings and long balloons.  He messes with people in multiple locations like a lunatic faery with no real rhyme or reason as to who gets to be his target or victim.

The film was written, directed, produced, and edited by Pat Tremblay and it must be noted that this is not his first feature.  Having not seen his previous work, a comparison is unfortunately not possible.  Here he creates a film that wants to be weird and experimental.  While it manages to do both, if forgets to make much sense or to be entertaining.  The story is hard to decipher, there is not much sense to any of the proceedings, and the characters feel very random.

The cast tasked with bringing this to life is led by Roch Desrosiers as our stocking and balloon clad hero or anti-hero, Syl Disjonk as Michoumorphose, Claude Dubé as Khaul Bis, Donald Lévesque as Molosstrap, Martin Savard as The Spheretule Mother, and a few others.  Their performances are hard to review as it’s hard to tell what they are supposed to be giving the audience, so kudos to them however for keeping in character, with a straight face, through it all.

Adding to this, possibly as they were trying for all out experimental, are the cinematography by Richie Mayonez, the music by Horatio Palatio, and sound by Gilles Maillet and Pat Tremblay which create a visual and audio cacophony.  The senses are under attack from those while trying to make sense of the film, adding to the non-sense feeling and possible headache.

“Atmo HorrorX” is an experience of a film; an experience in how much the viewers can take before they get a headache, get bored, or give up.  It would be a prime candidate for the What the Fantasia category in this site’s pre-festival coverage, but it’s just not entertaining enough or even appealing at all to be worth adding to that list.

Fantasia International Film Festival ran from July 14th until August 3rd, 2016 and will be back in the summer of 2017.