[31 Days Of Horror ’22] Mini Reviews: The Innocents (1961) and Beyond The Black Rainbow (2010)

Mini Review
Day 19: ‘Catch Up’
The Innocents (1961)

Ambiguity in a story within a film when done correctly can add layers to a story and absolutely leaves things open to interpretation, it may not always work but when it does it certainly will leave you thinking about it well after you’ve watched it. The Innocents (1961) plays the ambiguity perfectly within the story, where what happens can be taken a number of ways and it doesn’t necessarily make that right or wrong, that’s part of the individuals take away from the film. There are many ways to look at the film itself and what it may be trying to say, which makes the experience quite unique and memorable.

When Miss Giddens (Deborah Kerr) takes on a governess job for a man (Michael Redgrave), who is uncle to two children whose parents passed away and doesn’t care to look after them, she heads to his property of Bly to look after the children Flora (Pamela Franklin) and Miles (Martin Stephens). Mrs. Grose (Megs Jenkins) also lives on the property and looks after the house, Miss Giddens and Mrs. Grose form a friendship and Miss Giddens also forms a bond with the children. But as time goes on, Miss Gidden soon learns about the previous governess who died a year prior and experiences strange activity at Bly that seems linked to the children.

Is Bly haunted? Is it in Miss Giddens’ head? That is up to the view to decide and how they interpret what they see and feel, which is the beauty of a film such as this. There is an underlying feel with Miss Giddens of sexual repression, her relationship with Miles is an odd one and there are certain scenes where that repression is felt. The performances are excellent, Deborah Kerr absolutely shines in this role, she brings so much emotion and when things start to go downhill it is heartbreaking. Pamela Franklin and Martin Stephens give very solid performances, with some tough scenes they managed to pull it off exceptionally well. The Innocents is a film that will likely stick with the viewer, memorable and haunting.


Mini Review
Day 20: ‘From the 2010s’
Beyond The Black Rainbow (2010)

Panos Cosmatos may perhaps be better known for unleashing his incredible film Mandy (2018) upon on several years ago, but his first film Beyond The Black Rainbow (2010) is very much worth a look as well, the vibe of the film is similar to Mandy but this is something else completely. The film purposely has a very cold feel, a detached feel that moves slow but remains engaging throughout with its visuals and bizarre performances.

The Arboria Institute, which proclaims to be a New Age institute, founded by Dr. Mercurio Arboria (Scott Hylands) in the 1960s and in operation through the 1980s houses a young woman Elena (Eva Bourne). The institute is not what it claims to be, with Barry Nyle (Michael J Rogers) a lead worker who is seemingly obsessed with Elena, toying with her and this unleashes a power within her and a will to escape the place.

There is so much to say about Beyond The Black Rainbow, so much to dissect with what happens. There is a style with the film, there is also substance and each enhances the other in the way that David Lynch films do. There is layers upon layers and visuals that are not easy to forget especially within the third act when things go from bad to worse. The performances are intriguing with Michael J Rogers delivering a very memorable performance as Barry Nyle, remaining mysterious and charismatic through the entire film. Eva Bourne was excellent also, a role that has almost no dialogue and the delivery being done using her face and body language. This is not a film for everyone, it is quite a nightmarish experience and certainly challenging to watch but worth giving a shot all the same.



Reviews written by Marcella Papandrea


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