It is appalling, it is brash, it is untamed, but above all, it is not for everyone.
Quite a Conundrum
Quite a Conundrum’s official synopsis lets the viewer know what kind of film they are in for and perfectly summarizes the film; “Sex, drums, tequila, social networking, a pirate, morning after pills, Jesus and a gun. It’s one hot mess.” Yes, Thomas L. Philips’ Quite a Conundrum is certainly one hot mess. Although this indie film is not so much a horror film as it is a dark comedy with some heavy suspense throughout, it should satisfy the Midnight Madness crowd. The question then becomes, can this blatantly offensive film appeal to more than just that crowd?
In roles that are often played by males, Mimi (Sasha Ramos) and Tabitha (Erin Cline) are two raunchy foul mouthed best friends who are just looking to party and score. The film opens with Mimi having sex with a much older 52 year-old married man and is very vocal about not enjoying it. Later that day, she discusses all the unpleasant details to Tabitha, while they are eating nonetheless. Suffice to say that these characters contain about as much redeeming qualities as the cast of Jersey Shore; which is actually a pretty good comparison.
Even though Mimi is a twenty-something college student she still lives with her parents as part of a deal they made while they pay for her education. While her parents are out of town, the two friends plan to have a small party that includes Tabitha’s boyfriend Sean and his friend Dutch. Also along for the booze fueled night is Mimi’s younger high-school sister and her devoted Christian boyfriend. This is a recipe for disaster and ends up validating the philosophy, “If something can go wrong, it will go wrong.”
Quite a Conundrum spends the first half hour introducing its unlikable characters and setting up a routine college party story. But then the film quickly takes a welcoming turn. And it’s a dark one. Even though this turn of events is somewhat predictable, what follows is a chaotic night that grows more disturbing by the minute. Watching everything unfold into wild mess was entertaining and was easily the most enjoyable aspect of the film.
But not everything in Quite a Conundrum is enjoyable. You might think the vast amount of crude behavior is the most off-putting part of the film, like when a used condom is thrown into someone’s face, but it is not. Instead, it is how frustrated you get with the characters and the motives (or lack thereof) behind their actions. The biggest leap of faith you must take in the film is to accept that the characters are purposely obnoxious, but that is not an easy thing to do. Unlike the characters in the comedy/horror film Cabin in the Woods, these characters are not self-aware of their horrible personalities, making it more difficult to root for them when the time comes.
You have to give Quite a Conundrum some props for trying something original. The film surrounds the audience with indolent and offensive characters who end up in one crazy conundrum after another until suddenly you find yourself in an awkward position to care about them. Because Quite a Conundrum tends to ride the line between witty and eye-rolling, whether or not the film is effective will depend on the viewer. If you make it past the first two acts of the film you will be rewarded as things really begin to shine in the final act where everything is pushed to their limits. For the most part, I believe the film accomplished what the director intended to. It is appalling, it is brash, it is untamed, but above all, it is not for everyone.