Directed by Thomas Scott | Review by Moumita Deb
[dropcap]M[/dropcap]any of us go through this life ignoring the dark truth that “human mind is susceptible to evil temptations“. But by simply turning our back, we allow this thought to eventually consume us.
‘Perfect Picture’ makes an ingenious attempt to fathom out the deepest and darkest part of human expectations, culminating in the most appalling of crimes; which at times defy all rational interpretation of accepted natural occurrences.
The film packs in plenty of uncanny elements, while blending a horrifyingly unsettling atmosphere that engulfs you in the same way that it grips the main character. This sensation percolates effortlessly through the curious mind of the young girl, who fails to resist the hypnotic pull of the haunting curio shop. But somehow the film’s uniqueness manages to break away from the pre-established notions of horror. Though it cannot be designated as one of the most terrifying films technically, the manner in which the suspense unfolds and heightens layer by layer before reaching the final denouement, catapults it most admiringly to the expected hype.
Hebe Renard delivers a stellar performance as the strangely obsessed Helen, who is irresistibly drawn towards the sinister wayside junk store. Her frantic search for the ominous magazine among the weird exhibits and her long-suppressed obsession to replace the face of each of the models page by page, wanting to pursue the ideal life of perfect happiness that each picture claims. And lastly, the foreboding by the mysterious owner of the curio shop sets the creepy mood which intensifies and assumes greater dimensions as the plot proceeds further and once she is in possession of the sinister journal, it begins to cast its evil influence on her life and gains predominance in brooding over her malignant fate.
The captivating cinematography belies its tiny budget in creating an occult ambiance throughout and the performances are equally admirable all through. Some truly absorbing scenes will involve you in a perpetual grip, but it’s the brilliant character development that keeps you caring about the protagonist and justifies its make as a remarkably memorable and awe-inspiring horror film. This might help you change your whole perspective by occasionally throwing on something that is far outside of the mainstream and richly inventive.
The background score, well attuned to its setting, artfully smuggles in the element of fear under the beautiful wrapping of Tchaikovsky’s somber masterpiece. The finely-timed silence speaks volumes, too. Your brain fills in the gaps, building up to the scare moment.
The film possesses a dense, impenetrable miasma that is symptomatic of the director’s poignant and singular cinematic vision. In Perfect Picture he doesn’t so much tell a story as he tries to express intangible moods, thoughts and feelings through a series of cryptic occurrences thus adding to the narrative another layer of mystique, depth and perplexing bizarreness.
A powerful film that would not only keep you guessing as you watch but the supernatural goings-on might send shivers down your spine, Perfect Picture has the potential to immerse the viewer in a terrifying dreamscape. The abstract scenes make perfect sense but require everyone else to form their own interpretations or immerse in the murk and simply let the swathes of strangeness wash over you.
Moumita is a Kolkata based independent filmmaker and film critic. She holds a post- graduation degree in English literature from Jadavpur University. Reading novels of a wide range of authors of all genres from classic to contemporary has always been Moumita’s passion and calling. She also takes a strong liking in playing the Spanish guitar & has participated in quite a few concerts. Moumita has done her certification course in Cinematography, Video Editing and Filmmaking.