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Sunday, November 1, 2020

[Review] ‘My Dead Ones’ Explores a Fractured Mind Through Experimental Voyeurism

There’s a long history in horror of fractured minds that blur the lines between fact and fantasy and serial killers that can’t quite tell what’s real and explore it through voyeurism. Enter David, another in a string of genre murderers with a tenuous grasp on reality.

David (Nicolas Prattes) is a shy twenty-year-old film student that loves filming everyone around him. He’s also fond of making cash on the side with classmates via tech-based crimes. David’s isolated but comfortable life is shaken when he meets Jônatas (André Hendges), and it awakens strange feelings and impulses within. He sets his sights on the lonely lady living next door, opting to put her out of her misery while capturing it on camera. Waking up the following day, he finds her alive and well, making him breakfast. Confusion gives way to alarm when he learns the woman has sinister plans for him, birthing a new serial killer in the process.

Directed by Diego Freitas and co-written with Gustavo Rosseb, My Dead Ones wastes no time presenting its lead as an unreliable narrator. First and foremost, Freitas’ debut feature is a character study of a young man with a haunted past, but he prefers to keep the truth as close to the vest as long as possible. It’s a psychological thriller of the slowest variety, wading deep into the murky, convoluted waters of David’s mind. That it bides its time transforming from a familiar tale to expose the new angles can be a frustrating waiting game. Even when unexpected truths are revealed, David cannot be trusted with telling events as they are, adding a mind-bending quality to the narrative.

At first, David doesn’t seem to have a victim type, seemingly on a haphazard murder spree that gets messy. The way Freitas weaves these and other side characters in and out with abruptness can be jarring. It’s an intentional method in disorienting the viewer, and the cinematography exacerbates it. Cinematographer Kaue Zilli’s work looks great, but the odd choice in frame rate is disconcerting and off-putting. This, with the occasional shifts in aspect ratio, puts the viewer in the shoes of David, the experimental film student that views his work as art.

Prattes makes for a compelling killer with the vulnerability and affability to rival Norman Bates, though David is much more self-aware and less restrained in his emotions. While the root cause of his spree and hallucinations don’t reveal themselves until much later, working to drive the plot forward, the real mystery is that of the older Jônatas. He’s enigmatic and dangerous and never upfront about his intentions with the college student. The truth is far more disturbing and unexplored, leaving the audience with far more questions about the film than at the start.

That’s My Dead Ones in a nutshell. It’s a winding, meditative journey that favors mood over substance. The implications of what transpires go unspoken. An experimental arthouse type psychological thriller, My Dead Ones opts to give a new aesthetic to a familiar tale. It comes close to forging new ground but never pushes far enough and gets lost in its increasingly convoluted storytelling.

My Dead Ones is available on various VOD platforms now.



source https://bloody-disgusting.com/reviews/3638907/review-dead-ones-explores-fractured-mind-experimental-voyeurism/

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