Evan “Kaizō Haya-shill” Pincus’s review published on Letterboxd:
*rewatch “Paranormal Activity”
*rewatch “The Matrix”
Feels like a huge step forward, maybe even a movement-defining moment, for a strain of indie cinema that’s been brewing for years and unfortunately seems destined to never quite be my thing (prior rumblings - s01e03, The World is Full of Secrets - both movies that, like this one, I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone but personally struggled a bit to connect with. In my head I lump Josephine Decker and Ricky D’Ambrose into this “scene,” but I haven’t seen anything from them so couldn’t say. Maybe Jillian Mayer is a part of it too, but her work seems too distinctly “net art”... but I’m getting sidetracked!) - the glib and way-too-dismissive joke would be “it’s the kind of movie you’d expect to have an Alex G score.” There are emotional cues here that I simply can’t relate to in the slightest - I never had a stuffed animal, my reaction to ASMR is immediate visceral discomfort (always feels like I’m watching niche fetish content), I genuinely don’t know how to feel what I think this movie wants me to feel when it invokes these things. Not the movie’s fault! There’s a montage in here that turns YouTube autoplay into an honest-to-god meaningful formal gesture, and the movie that montage promised (which, as far as I can tell, is essentially just Schoenbrun’s unfortunately seemingly-scrubbed-from-the-Internet doc A Self-Induced Hallucination) blew me away, but the movie this actually is is something I remain a bit at-arms-length from. All the same, this is probably going to (or at the very least should) be a huge deal when it finds distribution, you will see ripoffs of it, they will inevitably not be as richly rendered or perfectly executed as this (Anna Cobb, holy moly!), and I am very excited to see what Schoenbrun does next.