Messiah of Evil

Messiah of Evil ★★★★★

The plot, what little there is of one, is very Lovecraftian - endless flight through a seaside town, followers of an obscure sect pursuing you even in your sleep, locked up safe in your motel. But there's an overriding voice that is reminiscent of Shirley Jackson - events taking on intimate, sinister undertones that echo and echo through claustrophobic domesticity just starting to sprawl out into a post-war infinity.

Here, we arrive at that same gas station twenty some odd years later, and the landscape is exhausted, ghostly and abandoned, all darkened window displays, parking lots and all night supermarkets. The pursuit continues, though, and nothing that has been erected can comfort you. Every scene in this movie either gives you a bad, fluorescent-lit headache or undulates with every rocking motion of the bed, suspended from the ceiling with chains, stirring your dreams and again, there, you are chased and surrounded and taken by figures in pop art turned very, very wrong, the mocking elements not just hinted at, but grinning with sharp, blood-stained teeth as the bed rocks, and you fall back into a fevered sleep beneath the static-hum and roar of the ocean.

Messiah of Evil contains the almost terrifyingly perfect transference of dream logic, of a collective dream-space, to film, a sense that this-earth-is-not-quite-your-version-of-earth and as the realization sinks in, your sense of dread grows. Dread which follows and stares and hems you in through your own need to pretend everything is normal, your own desire to have this either be a dream that you can wake up from, or just your imagination, that the person seated on your left and on your right are only sitting so close because there are no other seats available and are not wishing you harm. Not to break down and run, not to show fear and trigger a pursuit response is the safest course of action, but how long can you sit there, feeling the eyes on you before you have to move, even if that motion attracts their need, and causes your death. At least in that moment, there is hope of escape.

But eventually, their empty spaces will touch the edges of more and more empty spaces, and spread...and keep spreading.

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