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08.16.2017
Contact (2009)
Movie Review by The Corpse Bride
12.08.10

Contact (2009) Jeremiah Kipp is a name that you might not instantly recognise, however when you look at the projects that he's been involved with you will soon come to realise that he is in fact a highly established and well respected writer, director, producer and assistant director, who has been assocaited with some very interesting indie horror films, including Satan Hates You, Insatiable and the big budget I Sell the Dead. Kipp has also written for one of the biggest selling horror magazines; Fangoria.

Kipp's short film Contact is a beautiful - yet horrific - story focused upon a couple trying to deepen their relationship by taking a mysterious drug. The drug trip goes horribly wrong, yet despite getting more than they bargained for, they also get exactly what they wanted. The beauty about this film - despite being shot in black and white and mostly silent - is that its ambiguity leaves lots of room for interpretation which works to its advantage, as it doesn't leave the viewer feeling disappointed or insulted by it. I've seen the film several times now and I tend to pick up on, and notice, so many finer details each time I see it. However, the point of this review is to avoid labelling it as a 'horror art film' since this particular phrase gets slapped on lots of films nowadays. Therefore, I'm approaching the film from a different perspective and assessing its difference, specifically how it is a 'different' type of horror film.

The film is shot in black and white, and this particular imagery is what gives the film a deep sense of sincerity and poeticness. The black and white in fact gives the film a strikingly romantic cinematic quality and it is this which contributes towards it becoming a horror about ourselves, with regard to the choices we make, the risks we take and our interactions with others who are close to us. Cynical viewers may immediately write this off as not being a horror at all, and more of a psychological drama, yet all of the above is what makes it a different type of horror, because its so challenging and depending upon how deeply you engage with it, the more highly disturbed you will feel by its subtle power.

Of course, the film would not have had this effect on the viewer if it weren't for the superb performances by Zoe Daelman Chlanda and Robb Leigh Davis. The chemistry between the two stars is believable and feels very genuine. Daelman however, almost steals the show as her strong powerhouse of a performance and remarkable charisma carries the whole film which never lets us take our eyes off the screen. Davis is great as he brings a very sharp sensitivity to his role and together the two stars performances harmonise and gel perfectly well.

The obvious inspirations for Contact are David Lynch, with regard to the dark, oppressive tone of his work and David Cronenberg with regard to his depiction of body horror. However, Contact is not a carbonated copy of any of these directors films, rather these inspirations have been used in a different way to show that Kipp is a visionary director who knows how to disturb and move audiences in ways that they have never felt before.

Jeremiah Kipp, 2009, 10 minutes, Zoe Daelman Chlanda (Koreen) & Robb Leigh Davis (Westy).

Review written by Rebekah Louisa Smith

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