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In Association with
Necromentia (2009)
Director: Pearry Teo

review by Jo Johnson-Smith

When I put this in the machine I was wondering exactly what I'd be getting and to say I was surprised was something of an understatement. The film opens with a man in a tunnel, not too scary - you'd think - but it is, there are signs of human habitation but they're not recent. The man is bleeding; his back has been scarred by a pattern, one that allows him to reside there because, folks, he's at a crossroads. The roads to the hells we make for ourselves.

The entire movie is shot in a world where the normal rules are forgotten. Here there are demons in human guise everywhere, people lie, cheat, steal for their own worth. Every character in this movie is someone to fear, to avoid, even the poor Morbius (whose name gives us a clue to how the film pans out).

But let's get back to our protagonist, the man in the tunnel. You see him doing things that you really don't want to know about. Something bad has happened and he wants to find the love he lost, and there's a man who'll help him get her back. The thing is that everyone in the story is already damned.

The movie runs like a mÖbius strip and there are three tales here, like the old Hammer horror movies, but they're all interlinked by Travis, a man who does a very odd thing for a living, and I'm not going to spoiler it for it you, but let's just say it's not for the squeamish. He has a brother who is disabled and needs constant care but he needs to work and so he leaves him alone at home. Little does he know that the darkness and demons want his brother to play with, and the one who wants him is something frightening. I've seen Hellraiser a lot and the cenobites aren't that frightening, but this is. All I'll say about it is you'll never pass a butchers window in the same frame of mind again.

The story moves on, we see the disappearance of the brother who can't move out of his wheelchair, we see the Travis make a deal to get him back from the demons. And we finally understand the whole story that has trapped these characters in its embrace. It's a clever piece of work, wrapped up in several layers of meaning that you have to go back through to understand. If you have a working knowledge of demonology and magick you'll get it, but if not you'll just pass it off as a badly made movie.

The whole idea is this; we make our own hells from our own passions and emotions, each person in this horror ride has regrets and things they feel they 'could' and 'should' have done better. Even revenge for a death colours everything in the story, it's simply made and atmospheric in the claustrophobic depth it pulls you into. Everything in this world we see is decaying, there is no hope for something better here, only to do the best they can with what they have. Hoping that somewhere it'll pay off and we'll get the prize at the end, except here all we get is damnation by our own passions. Necromentia is disturbing yes, horrific yes, understandable by the general public, unfortunately not. However, for those of an esoteric nature (like me), it's a very valuable lesson in keeping your soul clean.


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