Never Tear Us Apart

Never Tear Us Apart” remains like an open nerve for its entire running time, its corners slowly saturating with dread much until it implodes under its own pressure. Much has been said about the use of the smartphone portrait orientation yet the instagram influencer sheen here is deployed to chilling effect with the chic clothes, banal furniture, and carefully composed images. It really feels like we’re watching a theatrical presentation of someone else’s Instagram story but it is discomforting in a way that we’re watching something that we’re not supposed to. “Never Tear Us Apart,” after all, is the contents of someone else’s memories, a closet full of demons thrown open for the world to see. The film begins with a ‘selfie’ of a boy, Alex (Albee Saspa) in his tighty whities, dancing like nobody’s watching and from here on, he proceeds to get fucked, literally and figuratively, thanks to an entity known as ‘the Shadow’ that has haunted his family for decades. The unfurling is cold, distant, and slow. Director Whammy Alcazaren becomes the Virgil to our descent in his own familial inferno where each circle contains an assortment of crimes, suffering, and transgressions. “Never Tear Us Apart” is intensely intimate and it brings us pleasures and horrors unknown, reminding us that the monsters that we created ourselves are the realest of them all, probably the deadliest — and it might just be in the family.