Cinema/TV, Film Notes

Film review – Flee the Light (2021)

My notes on Flee the Light (2021), now available on US platforms.

A debut feature from director Alexandra Senza and writer Jennifer Mancini, this Canadian supernatural drama begins as a study of two contrasting sisters who have different approaches to a shared legacy of ambiguous weirdness set up by minimalist historical flashbacks … then segues into a slightly more familiar possession drama, with familiar demonic stigmata like inky black brachiate veins, manky green fangs after the manner of Lamberto Bava’s Demons films, augmented snarly voice, lank hair and evil contact lenses.  Despite these elements, it’s mostly an allusive, elliptical tale which leaves gaps you have to fill in and relies on a witch type character who manifests to explain things in terms which beg a lot more questions than deliver answers.

Andra (Annie Tuma) is a promising student who seems to have it all together but might be held back by her older sister Delfi (Ariana Marquis), who displays a glut of symptoms of various mental ailments – from hysterical fits to narcolepsy, with many visions of a shining woman (singing Jane Siberry) under the influence of demonic shrooms.  When Andra drags Delfi to a new shrink, she’s surprised that the physician – after a session of hypnotic regression – refuses to continue with the treatment and seriously refers the patient to a psychic … then, following clues in the visions, the sisters travel to a remote location and are drawn to a bar which literally has a magical vibe, where their problems are ramped up by the attentions of a dark, malign entity.  Suddenly, it’s Andra who’s going off the rails and Delfi trying to bring her into some sort of balance.

The excellent central performances, an understated look, casual acceptance of new agey mysticism (the curse is also a pathway to wisdom) and an unusual off-kilter feel (it makes a meet cute with a possible love interest somehow unnerving) are helpful, but it might well end up blending in with a recent glut of witchy/folk horror/madwoman movies.


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