Tuesday 14 June 2011

Reading the scathing user-submitted reviews of Vinyan on IMDB, all written by self-proclaimed horror fans, I suspect that there is something fundamentally different by what I mean when I identify as a horror fan (and sometimes writer) and what these people are talking about.

Vinyan doesn't deal in physical evisceration or torture as its primary currency; it holds back on the gore until circumstances dictate that it cannot be avoided any longer; it grants meaning and narrative weight to the act of gutting a human being, a weight that films like the Saw franchise fail to convey.

Instead of serving as a sort of Sadeopedia, it deals with terrible consequences of loss and obsession, following a couple who are perhaps trying to expiate their own sense of guilt over a lost child, as they journey to the heart of their own particular darkness.

There is a supernatural element: a suggestion that a vinyan, the troubled spirit of one who dies a bad death, may exist even before such a death. Are the couple in this film being drawn into their own darkest hours by the spirit of a lost child or by some sort of unleashed anguish from their own dark destinies?

The supernatural suggestion is weighed against an evocative depiction of the unsettling, perspective-upsetting consequences of strong, perhaps pathological, emotion.

Everyone here has survived a terrible catastrophe; at least, they are all still alive. But it is unclear if their sanity and humanity has survived.

Seeds are sown, a terrible harvest is reaped. We are left to piece together whether it was human nature or the spirit world, or both, that intervened.

I think it's a horror film, using the term 'horror' as a shorthand for any narrative that seeks to unsettle us by exploring the darker potential inherent in things natural and supernatural. I also think it's a pretty good horror film.

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