Friday, October 15, 2021

The Blazing World - Movie Review

The Movie: The Blazing World

The Director: Carlson Young

The Cast: Udo Kier, Dermot Mulroney, Vinessa Shaw, Soko, John Karna, Carlson Young

The Story: Decades after the accidental drowning of her twin sister, a self-destructive young woman returns to her family home, finding herself drawn to an alternate dimension where her sister may still be alive.

The Review:
The horror genre has seen so many different types of storytelling techniques, twists on timeless tales, and visually stunning revelations that one would think there might not be anything left for a filmmaker to conjure up from their minds and imaginations. The horror genre has also proven that notion wrong time and time and time again as provocateurs and cinematic practitioners around the world are constantly creating and churning out an endless supply of fascinating new stories.

This is where Carlson Young comes in. The actress and now filmmaker seems to have been on a mission to blow people's minds with her first feature, one that hearkens back to the psychedelically tinged celluloid tales of the 70's and 80's while still moving the genre in a forward leaning direction. Carlson directed and co-wrote the film and also stars in the movie as the troubled Margaret Winter all of which helps to give the production a focused and singular vision which I'm sure was very intentional for the emerging filmmaker.

When I first saw that this movie was on the way, I was honestly most excited about seeing Udo Kier because, especially in the world of horror, having Udo Kier in your movie is never a bad thing. One thing I have enjoyed about his career is his ability to avoid being typecast while also carving out firm ground for himself in a very specific space. I mean, at this point, the man can be considered an icon in the world of horror and yet he can also authentically pull off a character like what he created in Swan Song, his other recent film. Add in Dermot Mulroney and Vinessa Shaw to the cast for this movie and the production is automatically off to a good start.

The story Young has created is steeped in fable and legend with a lot of dark fairy tale mixed in. I felt influences from The Odyssey as Margaret goes on an epic quest with specific challenges she must complete and also from Alice in Wonderland which is where the more fantastic elements of the story come into play. Young also drenches the story in loss and grief and familial dysfunction that was all mostly triggered from the one tragic event that sets everything else into an inevitable downward spiral. It was interesting to see how she had her own character, as well as the other family members, process all of the negativity through trial and revelation and then wraps it into what turns out to be a fulfilling arc for every character.

I know I've mentioned horror several times in this review although this isn't a typical shock and scare type story, it actually falls into more dark fantasy territory along the lines of Pan's Labyrinth or Grimm's tales of old. Young manages to bring that type of aesthetic into a more modern setting which almost has it leaning into science fiction as well. As I'm typing all of this, I'm realizing that the movie is not that easy to define and it really stands alone in a lot of ways as a unique and progressive piece of filmmaking. If this is what we can expect moving forward from this emerging creator then I can't wait to see what she does next.

The Verdict:
The Blazing World ignites the screen with a dark and twisted fairy tale, a deliciously evil performance from Udo Kier, and the emergence of a bold new voice in writer, director, and star Carlson Young.

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