Friday, January 29, 2010

The Hamster Cage

(Larry Kent, 2005)
As sick horror-comedies go, this one is remarkably focused and rigorous in pursuing an actual, articulate theme - the recycling of family trauma. The actors and music conspire to impose a light-comic tone through uncomfortable interactions ranging from incest to murder, while the cinematography lingers at a patient, menacing middle distance. The slow burn of the first half hour promises a cute drama of repression, but with one act of violence the film accelerates into fantasy territory, with deep horror themes resonating in scene after scene. In body or in spirit, incestuous dead uncle keeps on returning, as every attempt to kill his influence makes it stronger and things get progressively more histrionic and perverse...and cute. I don't agree with Kent's notion that we're inevitably doomed to embody the sins of our fathers, but as notions go, that one makes a pretty good sick horror-comedy. The cinematic sense is impressive enough to overcome and/or utilize any one-set-movie claustrophobia - cf. "The Deserters," which also benefited from Alan Scarfe's manly act.

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