MOVIE REVIEW: Red Victoria
Every author has a muse. If they are lucky, the muse is kind, a breath of fresh air that brings exhilarating waves of inspiration, allowing them to create a story the whole world will embrace as genius. However, not all muses are kind and most horror authors would agree. For writers of the macabre, their muses are usually anything but elegant or subtle. They move in without invitation, taking up roost in the most uncomfortable of places. They wreak havoc on the sanity of their patron with the most horrible of displays until the author, wanting nothing more than a little sleep or peace of mind, writes what the muse wants to hear, those terrible, dark words that seem to come from someplace other than one’s own heart, spilling out across the page like blood. If the author is lucky, they survive the visit from their muse and are left with a masterpiece, though their own state of mind may be of a less pristine quality in the end. So is the fate of the writer, Jim, in a director Anthony Brownrigg’s dark comedic tribute to horror films, RED VICTORIA.
Jim (Anthony Brownrigg) is an author of highbrow romantic dramas. However, he has yet to sell a script in some time and his agent is convinced that horror is the way to go. Convinced by his agent’s enthusiasm, and the fact that he is running out of money, Jim begrudgingly accepts the challenge, though he knows absolutely nothing about the genre. Little does he know, but he has subconsciously called upon a very bizarre muse to assist him in his writing, Victoria (Arianne Martin), a member of the undead set upon making Jim into a killer horror author…literally. Jim quickly realizes that subtly is not Victoria’s forte as she quickly begins killing his friends and associates off in grisly ways in order to teach him what fear truly is. Jim must figure out a way to rid himself of the entity before anyone else is harmed, or submit and follow her onto the path of irreversible darkness.
In the hands of a different director, RED VICTORIA could very easily become a gruesomely disturbing film. However, Brownrigg has taken it in a very different direction: black humor. Black humor is extremely hard to pull off with finesse; a little far to the comedic side and the film can become a bit corny or the humor falls flat as the horror aspect to the film is lost in an attempt to make the audience laugh. A little to far to the other side and the humor is lost all together beneath the tide of the more disturbing aspects of the film. Brownrigg walks perfectly calmly down the white stripe of this highway, unflinching in the oncoming headlights. I found the script wonderfully written and the comedic timing of actors impeccable, causing me to laugh out loud throughout the film. Brownrigg is completely believable as the pompous literary romance novelist who sees himself initially above horror and in fact remarks early on that he does not even get scared. How quickly that changes! Arianne Martin makes for a delectable ghoul, charming and haunting at the same time. She has a certain NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS quality to her while in her undead makeup that is quirky and bizarrely endearing, even when she is committing murder.
The film itself is extremely well shot with the scenes cleverly directed and cut to facilitate a quick build to the storyline and rapid development of action. The special effects are subtle and expertly placed so as to not overwhelm the comedic aspect of the film. There is a perfect balance of macabre throughout the film so that is lingers with you long after it has ended. Honestly, this is one of the best independent film I have seen in quite some time, a truly original story which I believe will become a cult hit in the indie world once released. A product of Kurv Entertainment, RED VICTORIA was an “Official Selection” at this year’s Texas Frightmare Weekend Convention, which is where I was lucky enough to catch a screening. However, it has not yet been released to the mass public for viewing. A trailer can be seen on their website, along with further information at www.redvictoriathemovie.com. You’ll definitely want to see this film as soon as you can get your hands on it!