Little Deaths (2011) - An anthology adding the themes of sex and death in a unique ways made for decent viewing. Made up of three separate stories this is a pretty well done exploration of the bizarre with cruelty, sex, unique relationships, strange science and death all swirling about soup that is strange tasting but satisfying all the same. Unconnected the stories could each stand as dark shorts but there is varying degrees of success to them. The writing interesting in different relationships between the characters that are not cookie cutter but instead complex made the film worth watching even if each story does not necessarily satisfy.
The first tale "House and Home" is about a couple who have less than healthy sex habits. Wealthy and entitled they approach the world as a place to take what they desire without apology. Richard (Luke de Lacy) can't get sex from his wife Victoria (Suibhan Harrison) who is chill to his advances. She would rather pull him into a unique three way that he is very willing to enter into. Together they target homeless women, offering food and comfort to lure the women into their home. Richard does just that with young Sorrow (Holly Lucas) who takes the bath and meal reluctantly only convinced by the religious appearance of the couple. The meal starts with good food and wine and as Sorrow gets groggy we realized she has been drugged. She wakes bound nude to a bed a victim of a couple who say "We take what we want, we've earned it." Richard just does that raping the young woman while verbally abusing her. The Director/writing Sean Hogan shoots this scene in a blurred soft focus making Sorrows experience a surreal nightmare. She lays still without showing emotion as he does his crime. His wife Victoria dressed only in her underwear watches and they suggest that her kink comes later in the form of torture. As she says "No one gets hurt, much."
The second story "Mutant Tool" by Andrew Parkinson is a strange and I mean STRANGE story of a woman with her own issues gets wrapped up with a group of researchers that have a unique product. Like in the first film Jen (Jodie Jameson) is a woman who has strange relationships, a boyfriend Frank (Daniel Brocklebank), who at one time had her turning tricks. It is alluded to that although not violent he is controlling and she has had violent boyfriends in the past. Now she sells drugs and turns tricks through an agency. She is trying to stay off drugs herself so this is probably not the profession to be in. It seems as we enter the story though she is getting desperate and looks to Dr. Reese (Brenden Gregory) for help. He has a unique program of pills that will help the drug addict kick the habit. It is the origin of these drugs that is unique in this story. We see a few story lines, Jen and Frank and there living situation, Dr. Reese and his experiments with the drug he is creating, and then also two men who are in charge of caring for the source of that drug.
All three stories are intertwined as Frank works for Reese's company acquiring black market livers to further the production of the drug. Jen takes the drugs and deals with the psychic side effects they have while trying to get through her less than enjoyable life. Reese and his cronies continue to explore the drug effects through Jen while at the same time trying to secure a steady supply of the excrement needed to create it. Jen is our protagonist though and the effects the drug is having on her is to enhance her connection to the mind not only of people that make physical contact with her, but with the source. The flashes she has allows her to see the secrets of those she comes in contact with, to feel the feeling they had or are having. Being involved with a murderous criminal in Frank or the very physically active job as prostitute do not bode well for Jen and her increasingly more vivid side effects while taking the drugs. This is a sad tale for her and the turn in this one is a bit telegraphed. What is good is the really visceral imagery of the mutant tool and its working. Still there is no happy ending and the reasons for the drug are left somewhat unanswered.
The final story "Bitch" by Simon Rumley is about a well written dominant / submissive relationship between a couple, Claire (Kate Braithwaite) overpowers her boyfriend Pete (Tom Sawyer) in their strange little relationship where he wears a dog mask and is scolded by her as a dog. This bit of role playing kink is marked by her selfish attitude often taking advantage of Pete's passive attitude. Still there is so much more to this relationship, Claire suffers from cynophobia and in the times where she is terrified beyond the rational we see Pete as someone who deeply cares for her. Tying this into her need to control him as a dog and his willingness to allow the role play is quite a fascinating setup. There relationship is complex and interesting and the basis for a story that ends with a cruel twist.
Claire is very selfish in this relationship and uses her dominance over Pete callously. The story of how their relationship goes bad is founded in Claire. She is not satisfied having what this couple shares but instead has to continue to domineer to the point of truly hurting Pete. Choosing to seduce Pete's friend Al (Tommy Carey), although a threesome was proffered is the last straw the boyfriend. Seeing Claire riding his friend taking advantage of his need to be submissive is a pain that Pete can't handle. He concocts a revenge that is beyond cruel for Claire completely and cruelly connected to her greatest fear. Crossed lovers are the most viscous and Pete plays out his pan with precision. The strong character based setup in this really carries it through making it a nasty little bit worth seeing.
As I have done so far this year; I am doing as an experiment my Twitter
account @Soresport is dedicated to following and being followed by
people in and behind the scenes. Then I am also hoping some of them
follow me back. I do fear that Twitter has become too much of a
promotional tool for people in film to actually get those follow backs
but hey its an experiment. I am now following over 120 people while the followers is only 15 so as you can see people in the biz do not follow just anyone back. :)