The Alchemist Cookbook

The Alchemist Cookbook ★★★★½

Chemistry begets chemistry.

Alchemist Cookbook is a slow, melting acid burn on the pages of an instruction manual. The dangers of unlocking the periodic table and revealing the black moving mass behind the doors of reality. It’s also punk as fuck, from screen to release.

Loner Sean (newcomer Ty Hickson) locks himself away in a trailer the middle of the woods to meddle in metallurgy and alchemy, trying to unlock the secrets of homemade gold, all the while self-medicating himself with prescription drugs. When he runs out of drugs? Well, his revelations become clearer.

There’s a total reticence of technology in the film (except for a tape player). The film focuses on chemicals purely. As experiment, as incantation, as food. From cutting batteries, to melting down hot-green powders, to white-heat phosphorous, the film is a slow burn through scientific meddling and demonic whispers. Relating exploration of the secrets of elements to summoning and materialization of the Dark Arts. A pure mass of chemical inducing, chemical denying, demonspeak where the gold Sean wants to amalgamate summons something far far more sinister and insidious. Even the food he dreams of in his vision of his gold-lined future is nothing but GM foods like Doritos and Mountain Dew and Faygo and Tacos. Crystalized in preservatives and E numbers.
Even when summoned, that-which-can’t-be-spoken-to, can’t perform the alchemy to create the gold itself so it demands Sean do it for it. The entity is denied the ability to mess with science as it betrays the hokey religious rules set in place. Spirits and possession are for the otherworld, math and elemental sorcery is for man. It just found a way to get through to our world from the act of it. And when we see it? Is it a trick? Is it real? Is that the trees and moss moving? Has my medication finally worn off?

//Physical transformation through possession can be controlled. It can be reversed//


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~findlay liked these reviews