2015.11.03 // Filed under: Screen
The Strange Colour of Your Body’s Tears is the very definition of style over substance. This giallo en français certainly looks the part as it descends into madness both figurative and literal, hitting cues similar to the far superior Berberian Sound Studio (that film’s director Peter Strickland is listed in the credits for audio contributions) with its repeated motifs of mirrors, eyes, lenses, knife blades, bared flesh and the like. But the sonic shenanigans and visual trickery grow tiresome before long with so little behind the bluster to discover, or want to discover. The result is little more than a showreel, albeit an admittedly impressive one, that’s desperately in search of a mystery.
‘Cube crossed with Saw as a game show’ was the elevator pitch for this one, wasn’t it? In any case, Circle – which pits a room full of randoms against each other as an alien laser executes them one by one – has none of that film’s power of economy, instead being far too enamoured with its blunt first-year moral philosophy satire at the expense of real human behaviour and motivation. Even when hot-button issues like racial prejudice come into the picture, the writers either miss or tip-toe around the blindingly obvious. The sad thing is a film like this, as unoriginal as the premise might be, could work if some more thought were put into it.
What a treat this is: a Kiwi horror comedy in the spirt of Peter Jackson with an original story that’s properly scary and funny in all the right places. To say any more would be to spoil the fun.
Touted as a back-to-basics reset of the increasingly comical Child’s Play franchise, I can’t get over the bang of straight-to-video, TV movie cheapness from this production. And that’s despite the studio backing, the return of creator/director Don Mancini, and a closing credits list that proves it was no mere weekend-warrior enterprise. Still, it has its moments, and manages to maintain a darker tone than its immediate predecessors (at least until the end, when the compulsion to twist on the audience gets the better of it).