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Review: Adrian Corona’s DIS

DIS stars Bill Oberst Jr., who is without a doubt one of the hardest working men in the horror and science fiction genres. In our correspondence, he mentioned that DIS is far from family friendly and “one of the strangest projects” he’s ever been a part of. The feature film – written, directed and produced by Adrian Corona – sounded magical at first, as it pertains to the legend of the mandrake; a creature with roots of a human and a cry that can kill. You’ve seen the mythical monster featured in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and other fantasy titles, but let me assure you – you’ve never seen mandrakes in a movie like this before. When I finished my viewing last night, I sat at my computer for a moment and thought, “What the fuck did I just watch?” Bizarre, puzzling and hypnotic, DIS is a unique and disturbing tale that takes you through a spectrum of horror not generally accepted by the public. I’m talking about its inclusion of experimental themes and styles. I may not have understood all the content, but, surprisingly, I thoroughly enjoyed watching it.

I’m a fan of original stories and directors who are ballsy enough to take risks. Adrian Corona is certainly one of the more ballsy directors making movies in 2017 and DIS takes a simple concept and turns it on its head… and mentally destroys it. The plot follows an ex-soldier (Oberst) with a soiled reputation who takes refuge in a massive forest. The woods are also home to a demonic figure seeking the seed of murderers and the blood of the damned to feed to his growing mandrake garden. When these two damaged souls cross paths, bloody terror and psychological scarring will take place. Remember, you reap what you sow. Produced by Beatriz Barradas, DIS also stars Lori Jo Hendrix, Peter Gonzales Falcon, Manuel Dominguez, Anne Voitsekhova and Marilu Aldana. I applaud the actors for their daring performances and for giving their all to their characters because DIS features very little dialogue. This will allow the viewer to take in the scenic beauty of the forest, expertly filmed by cinematographer Rodrigo Rodriguez, and the torment taking place on screen; but it will also confuse them. Being that the film is so experimental, a little more insight into what’s happening by means of dialogue would have been extremely helpful. Still, what the actors went through here is remarkable, horrifying, and a true testimate to the depths that actors will go for a worthwhile performance.

Speaking of the stunning locations and expert camera work, DIS is definitely a contender for best cinematography due to the combination of these two elements. Honestly, I was in awe of how beautiful the land looked; how untouched by society and flourishing it was. The enchanting landscapes were a stark and brutal contrast to the grizzly and perverse action happening on screen. DIS is a movie that will pull your mind, body and soul to the peak of euphoria before dropping you into the bowels of Hell. It’s a completely visceral, palpable and full-bodied experience; even if you have no idea what’s going on. And I can appreciate that! The landscapes, themes, and style of production are a clever mix of Asian flare and old historic English while being shot on location in Mexico. Again, it’s one notch in a series of conflicting elements that came together in a really enriching film experience. When DIS hits film festivals worldwide in the near future, it’s going to have people talking and I feel privileged to have gotten a chance to see it first.

Now, being that this is a horror website, I have to address the scary content in DIS. It ranges from subtle scenes of suspense, to experimental dreamworld-esque shots, to uncomfortable scenes of non-consensual sex, to grizzly torture. DIS isn’t a film that goes for shock-and-awe tactics and in your face terror, but when it’s time to turn the volume up on the horror speaker… shit gets intense! The body count is low, the blood splatters are low, but DIS is destined to disturb anyone who watches it. I’m going to go wash my brain now, but this is easily one of the craziest, horror fueled releases of 2017. Round of applause to everyone involved for creating a minimalistic, experimental, fantasy horror flick that did it’s job – entertain and dismay. Final Score: 9 out of 10.

Written by Michael Therkelsen

(Senior Editor)