Last week, indie horror When I Consume You finally made its way to VOD platforms after quietly impressing people on the film festival circuit. Its director, writer, and producer, Perry Blackshear previously impressed with They Look Like People, which you can still find on Netflix. When I Consume You actually marks the director’s third feature-length effort, following The Siren. To date, Blackshear’s promised mix of demonic and psychological horror has netted favourable reviews from a handful of critics.
For years, sister and brother Libby and Wilson have struggled with the trauma from their childhood. They have struggled with addictions and isolation, supporting and propping each other up. When tragedy visits them yet again, the siblings prepare to finally face the demon that has stalked and haunted them since they were children.
When I Consume You a Nightmarish, Often Confusing, Psychological Horror
Several years ago, writer, producer, and director Perry Blackshear made the criminally underseen They Look Like People. Here, When I Consume You accomplishes many of same aesthetic feats. Despite what appears to be a micro-budget, Blackshear crafts a consistently morose atmosphere that often drags you into what feels like a nightmare. Images range from disorienting to haunting, and rarely betray the thriller’ slower budget. Though it slow burns, Blackshear successfully assembles this atmosphere and imagery into an affecting finale. No, it’s not a big-budget movie endings with lots of bells and whistles. Rather it’s a quiet climax that gets under your skin and stays with you.
Though it slow burns, Blackshear successfully assembles this atmosphere and imagery into an affecting finale.
In addition to its dreamlike atmosphere and visuals, When I Consume You adopts an ambiguous storytelling approach. For instance, Blackshear offers littles in the way of expository dialogue meaning he trusts audiences but it also demands a lot. The story here doesn’t so much twist and turn as it spreads across the thriller’s runtime like an often formless cloud. On an emotional level, When I Consume You culminates into a powerful conclusion. But narratively the movie also confuses more than it challenges, making it difficult to understand what and why things happen. Subtle storytelling was likely the intent; however, it may limit the potential audience.
When I Consume You Benefits From the Well-Developed Relationship Between Its Brother and Sister
Where When I Consume truly sets itself apart from conventional psychological horror is the meticulous attention Blackshear pays to his characters. Even if the narrative often feels a bit too ambiguous, Blackshear’s screenplay fleshes out its complex brother and sister protagonists. There’s quite a bit of subtly in the ways in which Daphne and Wilson evidence their shared trauma and addictions. Like the rest of the thriller’s story, Blackshear avoids exposition – When I Consume You only hints at the roots of the siblings’ present-day struggles In fact, the thriller never explicitly identifies any addiction as its ‘demon’ and
Even if the narrative often feels a bit too ambiguous, Blackshear’s screenplay fleshes out its complex brother and sister protagonists.
Bolstering Blackshear’s attention to character are the outstanding performances from the lead actors. Similar to the movie’s style and tone, neither performance is ‘big’ or bombastic. Both Libby Ewing (Daphne Shaw) and Evan Dumochel (Wilson Shaw; Doctor Sleep) completely inhabit their characters with a subtle approach to the material that feels naturalistic. They enhance every emotional aspect of the story and play a huge role in making the finale work and feel impactful.
When I Consume You a Powerful Thriller With Likely Narrow Appeal
Like his previous effort They Look Like People, Blackshear employs supernatural tropes in service of a more intimate story. Whether When I Consume You actually includes a demonic entity or not isn’t necessarily important. Ultimately, Blackshear is telling a story about addiction, trauma, and survival. The narrative is both nuanced and complex and unfolds along a weaving path that’s challenging and engaging. Both of the lead performances are compelling. And Blackshear’s ability to stretch minimal resources into haunting imagery impresses. While it’s difficulty to universally recommend When I Consume You, there’s a great deal of skill and pathos evident in the movie.