Apr 23, 2009

I'll See You in My Dreams

When you decide, if and what, to evolve an idea you see so clearly in your head, the project might be similar to that of I'll See You in My Dreams. What I'll See You in My Dreams has going for it is the fact that is the first Portuguese zombie film and that it heavily evokes a lifeforce similar to that of Dellamorte Dellamore; which is a dry wit zombie film that burdens its Italian-based sassy sensibilities with reflections of art & death while showcasing metaphysical transformation and romance. What impresses me so much about this zombie short is the effective use of lighting, editing, and the natural environments of Portugal to create such a dirty and dust-ridden landscape (Dystopia themed?) of trees and fog that lay habitat to foul-stenched cannibals, along with some natives precariously named after "godfathers" of horror; Sam (Raimi), Dario (Argento), and Lucio (Fulci).

Lucio is a lone warrior stuck at a specific point of his life in which he has become local legend for slaughtering hordes of the undead which have inexplicably invaded his hometown. Not without motivation, Lucio does this not for the safety of his neighbors but in an act of vengeance for the zombies "turning" his once beautiful wife into a flesh eater. But this of course is poor Lucio's fault for catching his wife demonstrating a cemented stereotype of most, if not all women, being cheating whores. In this time of depression, Lucio stands as a lone figure that stands against these monsters and spends most of his screen time in a shoddy pub that is home to some very fascinating characters. I'll See You in My Dreams is a masterful film that also happens to cater to a very specific composition of art, cleverly returning to its main point and opening scene in stylistic deviance. What's surprising to me the most is that this film also happens to be a subtle romance, better than the almost unwatchable Zombie Honeymoon.

Lucio is a character that many will pity and more will follow with arms in the air. Taking the best traits horror legends have to offer, Lucio has been crafted into the ultimate badass and one without desperate one-liners, unresourceful sidekicks, or imitative choreography resulting in bland action and colorless set designs. Never has Lucio expected your attention and he certainly isn't the kind to trade humility for combat skills. For being a low budget feature, this is one film that will not sell out to being an "homage to Evil Dead" or any other degree of comparable taglines I see glued to horror film, regardless of how many bring this exact claim up time after time. I bring up this very true statement as this down right irritates the ever-living fuck out of me and seems to preemptively plague every other straight-to-DVD horror release that has been seen over the years.

I'll See You in My Dreams takes premium specimens of iconoclastic film theory and defies conventions of "imaginative" filmmaking with stellar directing and plenty of recycled imagery that has been polished. This from Portugal, none the less. The only reinvention of the undead I could imagine that hasn't been done, hasn't been butchered by some gorehound with a itchy camera-trigger is zombies with jetpacks. Now, prove me wrong but I haven't heard of such an "interesting" idea given the moving image treatment. I'll See You in My Dreams is bar none one of the more systematically riveting zombie films I've seen in quite some time. Distinguished muck and body wounds make for brilliant zombies that take steady advantage of the color spectrum the biology of flesh has to offer. This doesn't have the creative mindset of a young auteur but does consist of high quality gloss coating a sweet, sweet horror core. Everything you get from this film will no doubt be positive unless zombie films just don't "do it" for you. Which in that case you are defined as a soulless being. Don't expect to leave I'll See You in My Dreams without experiencing any symptoms of spiritedness or a foreign infection of spiritual terror tomfoolery.



Phantom of Pulp said...

This is beautiful.

In all honesty, I hate most zombie films these days. I'm just sick of their sameness.

What a refreshing change this is. Dare I say it? "Classical composition", characterization, subtlety.

The opening is superb.

And the rural location? Stunning.

Excellent score, too.

Aside from the bluish POV, doesn't feel like a derivative.

Great review.

Soiled Sinema said...

As do I. I'm reviewing Tokyo Zombie right now which is a film that has Ichi the Killer attached names plus a handful of funny situations and this seems to have warranted generally warm reviews. The truth couldn't be farther from.

I'll See You in My Dreams is a classic, one of which I would love to see expanded, perhaps. The sex scene is a personal favorite. The way Lucio makes "love" to her from the back so he can't look into her eyes dictates a complex too wonderful for even cinema. I definitely want to keep an eye out for the creator of this charming film.