The Scopia Effect (15)
Dir. Christopher Butler (@christopher_21s)
Reviewed by Matt Adcock (@Cleric20)
“Death Should Be A Once in a Life Time Experience”
Meet Basia (Joanna Ignaczewska) a young woman suffering from mental health issues including depression. She tries hypnosis / regression therapy with Dr Edward Stanton (Louis Labovitch), but gets much more than she bargained for when her brain accesses a series of past lives. This is the fun sci-fi premise of Christopher Butler’s The Scopia Effect (which itself means ‘Phenomena that cannot be explained by conventional science’).
The plot certainly takes a bit of concentration to ‘get’ as Basia’s memories and past lives start to infect the present – bringing some horrific visions and possibly genuine threat. Before long you’ll be with Basia in wondering just what is real and what isn’t…
There is a real sense of déjà vu in The Scopia Effect even though it’s an original story – if you’ve seen Shane Carruth‘s Upstream Colour, Nacho Vigalondo’s Time Crimes or Ben Wheatley’s A Field In England, you’ll be having flashbacks of your own. Butler battles valiantly to try and combine the seemingly discordant past lives – at times it works well and delivers some extremely unsettling imagery such as a sequence where Basia finds herself morphed through the walls of her apartment – with bits of her impossibly sticking through into adjoining areas!? It’s a scene that will embed itself in your head.
"the extremely watchable Ignaczewska"
It might not work on all levels overall and some viewers will almost certainly struggle to make it to the end but the dreamy horror and graphically violent elements combine with some truly eye-popping cinematography – and are anchored by the extremely watchable Ignaczewska’s central performance.
At the centre of the film is the question of Basia’s sanity – is she actually going mad or is she being haunted by more than just hallucinatory reincarnations of evil personas from a multitude of times gone by?
I can imagine repeated watchings might help unlock the mystery but I recommend that course of action only for those with a strong nerve.
"yes - Samurai's included!"
Out of a potential 5 you have to go with a Darkmatters:
(3 - interesting sci-fi horror with a side order of madness)