Comfortable and Furious

The Attic Expeditions (2001)

Rated R for blood-soaked surgery scenes, graphic sex

Is this film worth my time? Probably not, but it is a unconventional horror film

Who is this film perfect for? Enthusiasts of the horror sub-genre of asylum films like Jacobs Ladder, Shock Corridor and Dark City. This is the kind of movie that happens when mediocre directors attempt to be David Lynch.

Who will not like this film? People who don’t like shallow depictions of crazy people, people looking for well executed head twists and reality flips.

What is the summary of this film’s concept? The Matrix meets Memento meets Dark City, or at least that’s what it would like to be.

How does this film compare to others like it? Weirder than some, but lacking in atmosphere and suspense.

What works in this film? Jeffrey Combs, as the sinister and decadent director of the asylum, and Seth Green, as one of the patients. Beyond that, not that much. Cinematically, it has the disjointed nature of Brian Yuznas films. The dialogue and the sets are so set with surrealistic underpinning as to demolish any tension- for a mad world to work, there needs to be a baseline of mundanity.

What fails in this film? The film suffers from trying to juggle too many paranoid concepts at once- a time traveling book, spirits jumping through the window of insanity, a halfway house made as a gaslighting project.

This film is killed by an weak lead actor- you’ve never heard of Andras Jones, with good reason. He tries to be play an amnesiac by being flat and inexpressive, which makes him a bystander to his own drama. I kept thinking about how even a b-list actor (say, Sam Neil, for instance) could have raised this film to passable entertainment.

A film about madhouses will triumph or falter depending on the quality of the pathology depicted by the writing. A mad ventriloquist is more hilarious than informative. Seth Greens bipolarity is more comedic than tragic, and so on. Likewise, the jump cuts and the pacing prevent any real suspense or terror from developing. Jeremy Kasten is trying to make a David Lynchian film of recursive surrealism, but he lacks Lynchs genius for scene setting. It’s all the parts but with none of the welding or fusion that enables the flow of a surreal story.

The Attic Expeditionsis inept dramatically. It doesn’t ration the flips, and so the revelations undercut one another.Lost Highwaydoes less with more. Give an audience one mystery, and they’ll chase it. Two, and they’re weirded out. Give too many mysteries, and the audience gives up.



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