Tag Archives: Dreamy


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FEATURING: Malcolm Stumpf, Patrick White, Max Paradise,

PLOT: Logan, a junior high school student, explores his own identity and sexuality, developing a crush on a slightly older “bad boy”.

Still from "Wild Tigers I Have Known" (2006)

COMMENTS: The administrators are good at irrelevancy; the mother is good at volatility; the classmates are good at bigotry; and Logan is good at maintaining his solitude. He watches old movies, listens to late-night radio, and thinks. He thinks about death, he thinks about his peers, and lately he’s been thinking a good deal about Rodeo, a cynically charismatic, older schoolmate. Cam Archer’s feature debut, Wild Tigers I Have Known, is above all thoughtful. As it meditates on its protagonist, the narrative flow is meandering, with Logan approaching daily challenges and joys and starting to form an underlying identity.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but this movie should have hovered closer to “barely endurable” for me. However, it did not. (Had this been from a French filmmaker, I blanch at the prospect of my tirades about entrenched boredom and hack-handed pretension.) The variation in its filming style helps. Shots of Logan’s quotidian activities—unpleasant locker-room encounters, sudden outbursts from his mother, the respite he finds in old media—are intercut with more abstract cinematic representations: of memories, sexual fantasies, and day-dreams. The gauzier surrealism of these interludes occasionally bleeds into the realism of this boy’s life, but never smothers it.

Mostly, though, Wild Tigers I Have Known succeeded in maintaining my active interest because of its charming leads, genuine tenderness, and fitting ambiguity. It is unclear just what path Logan embarks upon, appropriate for someone of his age. Is he gay? He claims otherwise. Is he something different? Maybe. His relationship with an older boy hovers somewhere between friend and lover (never made quite clear), and Logan’s self-awareness evolves as the background metaphor (beware the mountain lions) plays out like an iron fist in a velvet glove.

Perhaps more than anything else, the closing shot won me over. This genre is (understandingly) populated by movies with depressing overtones and even more depressing endings. Wild Tigers I Have Known has a good share of setbacks for Logan, and ambient cruelty. But there are lights in his life, and though he may not quite know who he is or what he’s after, his dreams and memories begin to merge, if only a little, by the end. Cam Archer explores a slice of life before leaving his character to develop away from our prying eyes. Logan bids us a fond farewell, waving gaily at the camera before traipsing over the crest of a hill.


“A surreal, fragmented masturbatory fantasy whose vision of adolescence borrows elements from Elephant, Tarnation, Mysterious Skin and Donnie Darko…”—Stephen Holden, The New York Times (contemporaneous)

(This movie was nominated for review by “Henner,” who called it a “Strangely told coming-of-age story” with “Strong imagery and lots of dreamy stream-of-consciousness scenes.” Suggest a weird movie of your own here.)


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Eyes of Dread can be rented or purchased on-demand.

DIRECTED BY: Andreas Marawell

FEATURING: Malin Saine, Luna Dvil, Karin Engman

PLOT: Nina is rumoured to be dead; her sister Anna doesn’t believe it and investigates in dreams, while the other sister, Julie, investigates in the physical world.

Still from Eyes of Dread (2023)

COMMENTS: Another reviewer groused that the strip club scenes in Eyes of Dread far too often featured far too clothed dancing. While most of his other remarks were on the mark (if perhaps phrased undiplomatically), he did miss a point here: this is an artistic dance club, featured in random intervals in an artistic movie. This is evidenced by the prevalence of red and blue lens filters; thwompy, but not overpowering, sound; and the appreciable use of mirrors, alleyways, candles, and foreign accents. It’s one of those films where any given screen capture might suggest it is interesting.

It is not. A big spooky delivery of “She… went into.. a building(!). That’s where she disappeared. She disappeared there. But I can’t tell you where it is…” is as good example of the dialogue (although I did like skeazy guy’s advice to Paul the photographer: “the alpha animal, he gets all the bitches”). Much of my grousing about the dialogue might have been avoided had the filmmakers written it in the actors’ language of choice. Funneling Z-grade English-language lines through non-native speakers can make for an odd and unsettling experience.

It does not. Not in Eyes of Dread. Digging around the more charitable corners of my mind, I will remark that the camera work is sufficiently interesting, taking advantage of the undisclosed Central/Eastern European’s nook-filled density with its understated meandering. But that may be all. Unnatural phenomena typically demand a naturalistic approach: the unspeakable needs some veneer of relatability, if not necessarily believability.

I did not believe any of these characters, in spite of their painted-on earnestness. And while I don’t mind—and often can take considerable delight in—narratives that flirt with incoherence, there needs to be an “aura” to the film, that difficult-to-describe combination of elements that trap the viewer like a dream. Writer/director Andreas Marawell takes a stab at it, but relies too heavily on vague facsimiles of stuff seen in other films. He captures images handily—and it might be best if he stuck with cinematography until he can whip up a better movie formula.


“I swear it was just some student film with thrown together scenes at times since there was no plot to speak of. ” — Justin Whippo, Jackmeats Flix (contemporaneous)