Sometimes when a first-time horror director makes his film, the creation of tension stumbles to present itself clearly; however not the case with Trevor Juenger, who served as screenwriter as well though a difficult summation lies for the viewer, as it is a disturbing fantasy driven film with horror undertones, all delivered by Bill Oberst Jr. in a stellar performance. Trevor expands his limits with this film, perhaps borrowing a tad from is his movie Hermetica (2007), and the distortion of biblical stories, for the blending and twisting of reality shows an insane trippy nightmarish explosion on the screen.
Bill, whose character has the same first name, portrays a struggling writer, who perhaps has dug a tad too far into his own brain, as he follows the pattern of other writers, spirals with a mixture of alcohol fueled continually lacking all sleep in to a paranoid state with blurred realities and fantasies. The confusion spreads not only on the pages on the script but oozes uncontrollably into the laps of the viewers, their eyes absorbing the saturation of images, while the mind tries to comprehend the dazzling imaginary. Writers always struggle with the craft, trying to place the right word in the correct place and fill the pages with their images, battling their own demons and devils; herein the story graces these terrific elements. One wonders upon viewing this movie if it is all happening, or just a fantasy in Bill’s mind, recalling the similar aspect of Patrick Bateman (Christian Bale) in American Psycho (2000) where viewers discover none of the murders really occurred. The slow death spiral Bill takes, never looks campy, rather he approaches it all with seriousness, which becomes overwhelming with an infamous scene involves himself as a bug, and not the in the style of Nightmare On Elm Street 4: The Dream Master (1988), rather more thought pours in from Trevor for this creation. Although, not alone others accompany Bill, though not exactly part of his paranoia rather just clogs in the machinery, such as Jesse (Victoria Mullen), who presents a sympathetic and loving girlfriend, sadly love does not conquer all. In addition, a buddy of his Joe, an extreme racist character, played wonderfully by Bill Finkbiner, in some manners assist Bill in self-exploration and discovery, one must viewed, and see the nod to QVC.
Bill’s performance, which encompasses about 90% of the film, never seems over stayed, or pushed rather his darkness of insanity brings new levels of self-awareness with horrible imagines through his hallucinations, of pulling off his fingernails guarantee to bring groans from the audience. This film does it best to stay original and fresh, though does take a sincere moment to reference David Cronenberg’s Videodrome (1983) which truly gives more center foundation to this film’s conceptual design. The twisted imagery goes quite a distance painting Bill into a corner of mesmerizing scenarios each more aggressive, and ending with him donning a Coyote’s head and fur, perhaps a reference to the animalistic instincts locked in the primordial portion of the brain. Therefore, with alcohol, rage, and sleeplessness Bill unlocks it unleashing madness casting aside the civilized natures and constrictions, and attacking society for masked beliefs.
The estimated budget for this unique creation, tallied under $40,000 a paltry amount in the filmmaking business, but to the independent horror market, it can stretch equally well in the sets and tech issues limit themselves. This also works if the lead actor contains the abilities of range to spin them from zero to hundred in a second, and never complains, rather excels, and exceeds his marks, with understanding for character development that rivals Al Pacino. Bill’s insanity on the screen fueled from his encounters with parasitic mites to wasp stings, things that would have made other actors back off from quickly, but here again, the actor takes in strides. However, the issues with cinematography and sound made incredible artistic creations; the lighting issues, tending for a nuisance for the audience.
Needless to say, Trevor’s film falls more into a hidden art-house movie than a direct horror project that Bill usually represents; hence showing he has talents lying well beyond the horror genre, though it does represent at least 197 of the 268 credits he has done. The financial rewards obviously did not deter the director, rather shy away from the mass appeal and go forward with strong convictions opposite of Hollywood’s taste of sequels and remakes. Coyote, found distribution through Wild Eye Releasing, a company that strives for the unorthodox, and thrives for vivid spectrum of unusual entertain to balance their vast growing of horror films. If you seek, the horror filled tension, or wall-to-wall gore, and a night filled, vampire, zombies, ghouls, and T&A galore, that this character performance from Bill Oberst Jr. is not for you, and nevertheless, those that seek a deviation from the standard, will welcome this movie and all of its vast symbolism.
This review was originally published in June of 2015 on the Rogue Cinema website with a view count of 1,701 views.
IMDb Rating: 6.2/10
Baron’s Rating: 6/10