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Elliot - Dreams for Dead Cats Productions Print E-mail
User Rating: / 1
Written by Jay Creepy   
Wednesday, 25 October 2017
Severed Cinema Review of Elliot from From Dreams for Dead Cats Productions

Directed by: Craig Jacobson
Written by: Craig Jacobson
Produced by: Craig Jacobson, LeRoy Klitzka
Cinematography by: Craig Jacobson
Editing by: Craig Jacobson
Music by: Craig Jacobson
Special Effects by: Cassandra Sechler, Candace Bernard, Robert Pristine, Robert Pristine Condition Gammel.
Cast: Joshua Coffy, Craig Jacobson, Julia Berkowitz, Cassandra Sechler, Rachel Toups, Jay Sosnicki, Geoffrey Colburn.
Year: 2017
Country: USA
Language: English
Color: Color
Runtime: 1hr 7mins

Studio: Dreams for Dead Cats Productions
Official Website: Elliot

As stated in previous reviews, I have a fondness for experimental underground features which stems from the ‘90s when Headpress magazine, Creation Press, etcetera, used to steer me towards truly one of a kind videotapes. They were hard to get, but worth the hunt and capture. I believe regarding, Elliot, this coupled with my love of old BBC science fiction series’ such as Blake's 7 and Doctor Who (not to mention the almost forgotten Under the Mountain from New Zealand), I can appreciate the atmosphere and lighting a lot more.

I have never found a film or series which I have labelled as “too weird.” That statement is born via a closed-up mind. I use my senses when watching a film. I see, hear and feel as much as possible. Elliot could be hard going for a lot of viewers but it's worth holding on for a long time as you suddenly get the complete package delivered into your mind.

The music strikes you first. Punky robotic trying to be inspired by Vangelis or Tangerine Dream kind of sounds. We open to a bearded food chomping Elliot, who wears goggles -- akin to the Japanese shit which pokes out of people’s faces when they're changing into a body weapon, sitting at a desk appearing to be the most insane children’s show presenter of all time. Actually, he is a solitary maintenance worker inside some creepy complex. The red lights and the fuzz of the camera is excellent and instantly makes you feel this is another realm altogether. Remember Richard Stanley's Hardware? This could be happening somewhere else in that movie world.

Suddenly a bog-eyed face appears on a monitor above him. “Your attention is needed for the following message...” It seems section two needs his skills. The message goes on, Elliot continues eating. It's hard to figure out what else the face says due to distortion. Our man hobbles down long spongy corridors to his destination and it seems the whole place is one mass of living matter; the walls especially pulsate and has organisms which are alive waving about. Thus he performs his mundane functions. As he labours on, another figure passes, staring at him briefly before moving on. Elliot doesn't see this -- or chooses not to because he is constantly monitored by sentries to make sure he does his job. In fact, a bit later, one looms over him scaring Elliot.

Alone time means he can plug in his earphones and escape into an artificial world where, for instance, he is served by a butler robot. To be honest, it still looks as starkly barren and as bleak as his reality, but I guess it's his choice.

Snapping back to reality, the voice is almost pleading for work to be done in sector two again. Keeping power flowing is vital, it seems. Back in his den, the face starts to inform him that proper tools must be used at all times, if unsure, refer to... then the face is cuts off. Elliot stares at the screen in bewilderment as he can make out snatches and glimpses of a dancing woman. In sheer panic he pops his earphones back in to get away. This time in his perfection laden vision of himself, there's a rather cute female dancer.

Once again the face snaps him back to reality which makes him incredibly frustrated. Elliot snarls in rage and pain, then vomits all over the place. Life goes on, as does his work. When he begins to chuckle to himself and dance, you realise something is changing. A sentry watches, startles him, and then walks away shaking its head.

His next escape from reality is very different. Whilst enjoying his dancer, she suddenly vanishes and he is in conversation with a woman he has never encountered before. “I'm always looking for something different, unique, exceptional. I think it's safe to say you fit into all those categories.” he explains when she asks what brought him there. “Come on, now.” she smiles at his chat-up line. The way she talks, it could be that she is somebody elsewhere escaping into this virtual reality like him. “You're very nice to look at.” he continues. They both agree they are two lonely souls which is why they indulge in this unreal world. “Here I can dream about everything I want to be.” she says. “Everywhere I want to go, everything I wish that could happen. Here, you become your desires.” (I swear somebody needs to sample her speech for a music project!!) She also hates it because no matter how long she stays, sooner or later, she has to leave.

When Elliot leaves, he is feeling more disjointed from what is considered his reality and is tormented by the dancer girl. “I have a voice, but it is not my own.” He sighs when she persists to ask what is wrong. “I have an appearance, a psychical existence of which I am unsure of... someone that is, but isn't, me. I do not know who, or what, I am!

There is something inside of me, I hear it all the time. But it doesn't exist. I don't know what I am, what I used to be, or what I could be. So I choose something and I believe it as far as it will carry me, no longer knowing who or what is me.” Then three sentries arrive to beat the hell out of him. After this and some trippy minutes as he is chased by whatever the hell is chasing him, Elliot is more and more disillusioned by his place in the complex. A confrontation with a rather angry and threatening man in similar gear reveals the first parts of what is becoming a jigsaw of answers for poor terrified, Elliot. This, plus the fact that people from his virtual dreams are appearing before him in his 'real' world just edges him towards a completely bad day altogether. Soon all he sees is a complete nightmare. Finally, he has to face who his virtual soulmate truly is, and especially himself.

I could imagine Elliot in comic form sitting in the pages of 2000ad back in their glory days. It is twisted and thoughtful. For the basic and contained sets, there is a lot of imagination and detail to lighting, for a movie which only has about five locations throughout.

Elliot has a big advantage over a cluttered saturated market -- it has cool visuals and it has originality. Aside from the obvious Tetsuo influences, Elliot creates a frankly disturbing and hopeless future for this poor maintenance worker. Plus, it's like watching an overly copied VHS tape which makes it somehow more authentic. The sickly reds, greens and shadows just ooze dirty pirate viewing -- plus it helps cover the obvious low budget: approximately $5.000, so top marks for inventiveness.

As per usual, for these underground flicks, one person does a majority of the tasks. This time it's Craig Jacobson. He directs, writes, edits, and acts a little bit. Craig also composes the seriously demented soundtrack. Known for Wireboy, which was written and directed by Cassandra Sechler -- the main makeup effects person on the Elliot project, Craig handles all his roles as a professional. If anything could be stabbed at, the final act does lose itself under its own weight and maybe tries to be just too clever and surreal. For the most part, though, Elliot is a capable Science Fiction Cyber Horror.

Joshua Coffy plays Elliot and it is his first major acting role, which raised my eyebrows. Meanwhile, the heavy duty person has to be the before mentioned, Cassandra Sechler. She has a long CV with many roles in many Dreams for Dead Cats creations.

Elliot is recommended for anybody who likes a poke at the disfigured autopsy results. It is for the viewer who has built an armour-plated brain-case, made strong by loads of movies which try something different, that venture as far as possible on a low budget.




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