Mindflesh DVD Review
Directed by Robert Pratten
Written by Robert Pratten from a novel by William Scheinman
2008, Region 2 (PAL), 78 minutes, Rated 18 (UK)
DVD released on 24th January 2011
Peter Bramhill as Chris
Carole Derrien as The Goddess
Christopher Fairbank as Verdain
Lucy Liemann as Tess
Roy Borrett as Slade
Steven Burrell as Tate
Chris Jackson (Peter Bramhill) is a taxi driver working the late shift. As if the long hours and nighttime clientele weren’t enough, he’s also plagued by a ghostly apparition of a semi-naked woman who disappears when he gets anywhere near her. The vision of this girl has become his obsession, and it’s one that has cost him his relationship with his ex-girlfriend, Tess (Lucy Liemann).
As Chris’s fascination with the ethereal beauty continues, he descends into a nightmarish world of traumatic memories buried deep within his subconscious. He turns to Tess — his Buddhist ex-girlfriend — for help and she gives him a book on materializations, a belief that people having a difficult time in their lives can act as a conduit for entities to pass between parallel worlds.
In an attempt to find out if this could be true, Chris tracks down the book’s author, Professor Verdain, who explains that a race of creatures called Guardians protect the planes between worlds and they are mightily pissed that Chris’s troubled psyche is allowing passage. The only way for him to end the torment is to face the fears buried deep within his mind, or everyone close to him will die.
In the early part of Mindflesh we are introduced to the characters and locations by subtitles like “Tate – Chris’s friend” or “Work – Taxi Office, London”. It’s an unusual approach and negates the need for character development or exposition of these aspects, but as Mindflesh is a shade under 80 minutes there was ample opportunity to expand the running time with some back story.
Having won the award for Best Horror at the Philadelphia Film Festival in 2008, it’s a surprise that this solid British indie hasn’t been picked up for distribution sooner. Being set among a scenario of subconscious nightmares and mysterious creatures that exist in the space between worlds has allowed director Robert Pratten free reign to bend reality as much as his budget allowed. By messing with the minds of his characters and their deepest fears, he brings out their vicious sides and some of the treatment they serve up to each other is downright callous.
Sangeet Prabhaker is responsible for the bulk of the film’s special effects and has created Cronenberg-esque body-horror as well as an impressive creature design which is used sparingly enough to remain both terrifying and elusive throughout.
None of this would have been possible without the cast who are, across the board, excellent. Bramhill is perfectly cast in the lead role and plays his part of a man with a tortured mind and soul with ease. Even Carole Derrien, the semi-naked object of Chris’s obsession, is satisfyingly perfect in her non-speaking role as she titillates and teases him into a state of mental breakdown.
Mindflesh is a fresh breath of originality into a genre that has existed far too much around recycled ideas and remakes in recent years.
Video and Audio:
Video and Audio are not graded as this was a screener.
Special Features on the DVD will include:
- Robert Pratten's short film, Bardo
- Making of a Monster Feature
- Five Production Diaries
- Special Effects Insight
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