04 January 2015

Jeremiah Kipp Triple Feature: Edgar Allen Poe's BERENICE / PAINKILLER / THE MINIONS

Edgar Allen Poe's BERENICE
(20minute short
part of a horror anthology called "Creepers")

USA, 2014
Director: Jeremiah Kipp


Back in June, short-film-mastermind Jeremiah Kipp surprised me with his marvellous 2-minute-adaptation of Edgar Allen Poe's "Alone". Now, he surprised me with another even more marvellous Poe-adaptation: "Berenice", a grim and gripping little shocker, based on Poe's bizarre short story of the same name, following an odd young man who becomes obsessed with the teeth of his beloved cousin Berenice who suffers from a fatal disease...

Kipp successfully managed to bring Poe's 19th century nightmare into the 21st century by giving it a fresh coat of paint, while also keeping the story's basic tone and atmosphere, creating a wonderfullly unsettling film that perfectly combines modern arthouse horror with classic gothic horror. The story unfolds via creative, eclectic and gorgeous scenes/images, all open to interpretation. Not everything is clear, not everything gets explained, but the viewer fully understands that there's something horribly wrong between these two inscrutable characters.

Long, calm and very well composed takes, often interruped by harsh, abrupt cuts, by slightly dream-like scenes, by actual dream sequences, and by graphic sex scenes, at times sexy, at times disturbing. Ephemeral pieces of music interact with creepy chords and uncanny melodies. There's no escape, no hope for relief. It all leads to a downward spiral into death and disease,
madness and insanity.

Kudos to the wicked performances of Cheryl Loski as charming and pitiful Berenice, and Thomas Mendolia as unsympathetic and slightly frightening weirdo. Mr. Kipp, more Poe please!

(15minute short)

USA, 2014
Director: Jeremiah Kipp


"Painkiller" tells the intriguing and fascinating story of two young scientists who try to heal cancer with an artificial organism that forms a symbiosis with the cancer patient, feeding on and eventually eliminating his pain, rewarding him with endorphins and happiness. Unfortunately, once the pain is gone, the organism doesn't stop, go away or die... it actually wants more and more and more, transforming its host into a self-mutilating pain-junkie...

Although it's not as great as "Berenice", "Painkiller" surprised me even more as it is probably Kipp's most unconventional, most exceptional film to date. Camera- and editing-wise, it possesses all the distincitive Kipp-trademarks, but several plot elements and some striking details make it actually look and feel surprisingly non-Kipp-like, more in the vein of the works by Daniel DelPurgatorio, Richard Powell or the Cronenbergs (David AND Brandon).

The movie's tone constantly switches between fun, dark and disturbing, thanks to some silly-but-nice practical effects, lots of thrilling tension, unexpectedly intense twists and turns, and a few unexpectedly harsh scenes. The score delivers moments of Trent-Reznor-esque calmness, as well as aggressive in-your-face shock music. The acting is very decent, gore & make-up efects look terrific and the ending is just wow.

A killer of a thriller! :)

(11minute short)

USA, 2014
Director: Jeremiah Kipp


Some Kipp-flicks just don't work for me, like this one: "The Minions" (not to be confused with the upcoming... oh, nevermind), a beautifully shot, but ultimately dull, boring and unenjoyably strange film that follows a man who walks down the "witches' path" where he stumbles upon two drunk girls who seem to be minions of the witches...

It's a gorgeous film with great acting and cool shots - but that's it. The story starts out unappealing and ends up underwhelming. Two of the main characters are bland and rather uninteresting, the other one is just annoying. Not much more to say about it because... well, there's not much happening, not much that stands out. "The Minions" is comparable to "The Days God Slept", the only other Kipp-flick that I don't really like.


  1. When filmmakers have made as many shorts as this - why aren't they combining them into anthology features - where more people would have a shot at seeing them?


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