Twisted Minds - Underground Reviews

måndag 14 maj 2018


Directed by: Simon Rumley
Written by: Simon Rumley
Stars:  Leo Bill, Roger Lloyd Pack, Kate Fahy ... read more

Country: UK
Style: Drama | Mystery
Runtime: 1h 23min

Director Simon Rumley is one of my biggest favourites when it comes to the British indie-scene. I discovered him for the first time in my favorite sequence "Bitch" from the anthology 'Little Deaths' (2011) and later I stepped down into his filmography to discover 'Red White & Blue' (2010) and it was first then I became quite enamored by his world. The third film I came to watch was 'The Living and the Dead' (2006), a film which I think means a lot to him personally, because it's dedicated to his parents Sheila and David. Simon's father died of a sudden heart attack and three months later, his mother was diagnosed with cancer and also she died and I believe that much of the movie reflects on his own parents' death.

In a decaying mansion in England, Donald Brocklebank (Roger Lloyd Pack) lives with his very sick wife Nancy (Kate Fahy) and their schizophrenic son James (Leo Bill) who need to eat several pills a day to stay calm. Donald is completely broke because of Nancy and his sons medical treatment and he has now been pushed into selling his mansion. One day Donald have to travel to London to do business and to call the nurse Mary (Sarah Ball). Now James decides to prove to his father that he is capable enough to take care of his mother and close all entrances to the house. By mistake, he gives his mother an overdose of pills and expect it to heal her illness, but Nancy dies. At the funeral James remains another problem, which makes his father Donald crazy as hell.

Rumley mixes the most nightmarish and disturbing aspects from Stephen King's 'Misery' (1990), Roman Polanski's 'Repulsion' (1965) and Harmony Korine's 'Julien Donkey-Boy' (1999). Even some of the film's surrealism refers to the frightening sequences from Aronofsky's 'Requiem for a Dream' (2000). Either you will love it or hate it because It has brought mixed reactions from the audience when it comes to the harrowing journey into madness. The script connects reality and madness in an environment of nightmares, and the viewer must be focused to succeed understanding its entirety.

The actor Leo Bill who plays James has received mixed reviews by many spectators. Some think he's really amazing and other doesn't think he's credible at all. Personally I think he is quite good, but of course, you will see that it's spectacle behind his actions. Schizophrenia is one of the most inexplicable illnesses, so I understand that it's difficult to act sufficiently credible as a non-sick person. A psychosis is played out in so very many ways despite the fact that people who are actually sick, have a tendency to exaggerate their own illness.

I like Rumley's fascination for fast movements and my absolute favorite sequence is when James neglects his medication and starts to hallucinate. This scene is really intense and filled with a beautiful and executed surrealism that triggers my brain in higher gear. There will be no worse then when Leo Bill actually penetrates his skin with needles for real. That's an authentic scene Leo Bill did to make it look as believable as possible.

Not to forget another fun trivia, even if you are superstitious or not; Did you know that "The Longleigh House" as the film is set in, was an active hospital during the First World War? Afterwards, the building has been a boys' school, as well as a drugrehabilitation clinic. Local reports say that the house contains at least three ghosts today; an old woman, a soldier and a child. The house looks really scary and helps us spectators to fill the right feeling from a genuine horror-filled atmosphere.

The Living and the Dead makes a very strong statement and I would urge anyone with an interest in psychiatry to watch this movie. It's definitely not meant to everyone, so be prepared for a thoughtful and gloomy night you may not have been in for a very long time.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5


Produced by: Mark Foligno, Elliot Grove, Paris Leonti, Steve Milne, Nick O'Hagan, Simon Rumley, Carl Schoenfeld, Uday Tiwari.
Cinematography by: Milton Kam
Editing by: Benjamin Putland
Special Effects by: Jacqueline Fowler, Robin Pritchard
Music by: Richard Chester
Language: English
Color: Color

DistributorTLA Releasing


Owner of and writer for Twisted Minds. French Canadian weirdo, lives in the past, afraid of the future, but curious about what to come. Beginner in extreme horror and visual arthouse, and finds it exciting to discover the world down under. Growed in the 80's and discovered cheesy classics, among others John Carpenter, Wes Craven, David Cronenberg, Stuart Gordon. Live for electro, rock and metal music and have a long story full of concert memories. This is the first time he takes the interest in writing about what he is experiencing.