SXSW 2014: She’s Lost Control, The Heart Machine, & Creep
She’s Lost Control
As a surrogate partner therapist, its Ronah’s (Brooke Bloom) job to try to heal people of their sexual intimacy issues through various sessions and stages of erotic contact (think Helen Hunt in The Sessions). While at work she is seems to have all the answers on how to be intimate with a smile on her face, yet her home life reveals nothing but the opposite. She can barely crack a smile and has no one she can share herself with. It becomes increasingly apparent that Ronah doesn’t practice what she preaches she informs one of her clients how important it is to move on, yet she forms a personal relationship with him and is unable to let go.
She’s Lost Control is a quiet and slow moving film about the difficulties of separating emotions from sex. Though the film does bring up an interesting topic, it fails to explore it beyond just the surface. Also, the title is a bit of a stretch as her life never seemed to be in control. Temporarily bringing life to the picture is a brutal scene near the end that generated a collective gasp from the crowd in an otherwise mostly stagnant film.
The Heart Machine
John Gallagher Jr. is an actor who needs no introduction here in Austin after starring in the cherished film Short Term 12 last year at SXSW. In The Heart Machine he stars as Cody, a New Yorker who is currently in a long distance online relationship with Virginia (Kate Lyn Sheil). The two have never met in person and because she’s thousands of miles away living in Berlin, they utilize services such as Skype and Facebook to interact with each other.
Everything is going swimmingly until Cody notices that the background sound of an ambulance siren on her end sounds an awful lot like an American one (apparently this is common knowledge). Soon he begins to question if she really is in another country as she claims. His suspicion starts off moderately legitimate but quickly escalates into complete obsession.
Watching Cody use his makeshift detective skills makes The Heart Machine an exhilarating ride as he gets closer and closer to discovering the truth about her real location. But it was Andy Warhol who said, “The idea of waiting for something makes it more exciting,” which is especially the case here as the final reveal is much less stimulating than the events leading up to it.
Even though it was 9:00 p.m. it certainly felt like midnight at the Stateside Theatre tonight in Austin. That’s because this offbeat film from Patrick Brice has fun mixing comedy with horror that caters perfectly to a rowdy midnight movie audience. Though Creep’s effectiveness will be limited when played to a slightly broader audience.
Creep starts off as a typical found footage horror film when a man named Aaron (played by director Patrick Brice) decides to document his travels up to a remote cabin in the mountains to meet a mysterious man named Josef (Mark Duplass). But the film is far from typical. True to the title, Duplass’ character is downright creepy, often blurring the line between sincere and sinister. Each jump scare Duplass conjures up is followed up by some ridiculous stunt that generates laughter. Not all of the jokes landed, nor were all of the scares successful. But never in my life did I expect to be so haunted by the sight of Duplass.