Lucid Movie Review
Written and directed by PJ Woodside
2013, 100 minutes, Not Rated
DVD released on August 12th, 2013
PJ Woodside as Faith
Brittany Saylor as Monica
Bill Johnson as Paw Paw
So the budget was low. And the actors had some slip-ups with truthfulness. And a few plot points were a bit bumpy. But all in all Lucid is a great story done well within its confines.
Monica has had a hard upbringing by cruel parents but she's putting that all past her with the help of a good job, a better boyfriend, and a therapist. When her dreams of violence become more than just dreams, she has to figure out what is behind these nightmares before they turn into reality. Is it her subconscious reaching out...or someone else? Director/writer/star PJ Woodside knows how to play her cards close to her chest. Even when you think you know exactly what is going on, she's a step ahead of you.
The story strings you along at an enticing pace, curious to see what's going to happen next. She's not an exceptional actor (and neither is Brittany Saylor as Monica, or even Bill Johnson as Paw Paw, though better than expected with a "homemade" movie), but she is remarkably creative when it comes to stories within stories within stories. There were nearly as many dream levels as Inception in this film, and I could follow clearly where Monica was as she stumbled and fled through them.
Woodside’s also not afraid to write complicated female protagonists. While a male-oriented Hollywood prefers clearly defined virgins or whores, Ms. Woodside writes a mature woman who has her demons. Monica regrets her past mistakes, longs to move past them, but is still human enough to let old traps ensnare her again. Her boyfriend is understanding as much as he can be, but isn't a doormat to be pushed over if lied to. And shooting in Kentucky means everyone looks like real people as opposed to Hollywood glamour scream queens. I mean, really, Patrick Wilson and your Insidious: Chapter 2 nonsense. You are too good looking not to be up to something.
The gore effects are minimal and a little theatrical, but it serves its purpose without being gratuitous. The same can be said when we see the atrocities committed against Monica when she was a child; filmmakers that deal with abuse of a child walk a fine line and I didn't find that this movie did anything but point out how disgusting and damaging it is. I also like how you never know the full extent of the villain's plans. Surely Monica plays a vital role, but we don't get to see the whole story before it goes SNAFU. It may frustrate you, but I feel as though Woodside knows the whole story and isn't sharing with us because we don't need to know to enjoy this film; a far more satisfying intuition than she-didn't-feel-like-writing-that-bit sense. She knows what she wants you to know and it gives her work a great sense of mystery.
I can't wait to see what she'll do with some real funding. Buckle in, it's going to be a bumpy night.
Video, Audio and Special Features:
Video, audio and special features will not be graded as this was a screener.