Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Ekimmu: The Dead Lust – review

Director: Andy Koontz

Release date: 2017

Contains spoilers

This film appeared on Amazon Prime Videos and the picture of fangs accompanying the film there caught my attention – as you would imagine. I also knew the name Ekimmu, and suspected it was a vampire type. A quick peruse of Bane’s Encylopedia of Vampire Mythology was in order. (Incidentally, you’ll see me refer to Bane a lot. It isn’t perfect, by any stretch, is expensive and certainly takes a very wide view of what might be constituted a vampire. It is, however, one of the better starting point resources for comparative folklore with a vampiric twist.)

Bane says Ekimmu is a variant of Ekimmou and it “is bitter and angry, doomed to stalk the earth, unable to find peace, desperately wanting to live again. Ghostlike in appearance, it attacks humans relentlessly until they are dead.” It goes on to say “One is created when burial procedures are not followed” (amongst other causes). Director Andy Koontz actually encapsulates some of this within this film.

she's just a devil woman
However, I should also warn that Koontz also goes for some quite experimental filmmaking/storytelling and some of his decisions work better than others. We start off with a man, Steven (Jeff Argubright) at a barn shouting for the occupant, Hank (Brian Jones). Once he gets inside we get a confused story of missing girls being found but that did not include Steven’s daughter Sarah (Carissa Becker) who is still missing. Hank says that the cost was Sarah and his own daughter, Mary (Chloe Francis). Their souls are lost and they all (the townsfolk, one assumes) signed the oath in blood – producing a document. No one will ever find her, he says, she is now a ghost or spirit lost to lust and blood.

haunted by murder
The opening seemed quite cheaply made and is perhaps a tad superfluous. If it were missing, the film wouldn’t suffer and it isn’t properly referred back to in the later film. We then get scenes that seem unrelated. A new couple, Mike (Ethan Hoyt) and Beth (Chloe Francis), very much in love and getting engaged (with a necklace, not a ring) – there was some strange distortion to their dialogue. We see a scene of murder in the snow. We see a demon woman who appears writhing at the camera at various moments – unfortunately her dialogue was pretty distorted to the point of being incomprehensible. We see Eli (Andy Koontz) kill himself.

Beth and Mike
Mike awakes, sat in a chair, clutching at his chest… Beth receives a letter at college from Mike. He has been doing their new home up and will pick her up at the station. Driving to get her, the car suddenly breaks down at a garage. It is run by Hank, who takes a look at the car whilst he rings Beth – managing to say he’ll be late before the call cuts out. Hank tells him that there is nothing wrong with the car and he is able to drive away. He picks Beth up but it is dark as they drive home and the car stops again. He is having a frustrated cigarette when a girl appears at Beth’s window covered in blood. In the woods we hear a man shouting for her. It is Sarah. Thinking her attacked, they drive away with her (in the now working car). It was Steven who was shouting for her.

the ekimmu
Having stopped at the now closed garage to use a phone (it doesn’t work) and avoiding Steven again, they end up waking in the car to find Sarah gone. They go home and go to bed. Mike wakes and hears Beth in the shower. He potters around and then goes to the bathroom, pulls back the curtain… it is Sarah. Just as Beth gets home and falls into a jealous rage (saying that he clearly wants Sarah) and storming off. Sarah does then try it on with him, he rebuffs and when Beth gets home she finds him beaten on the floor (the contusion on his head, herein, looks very false).

Anyway – lets cut to it. Sarah seduces Beth (in the shower) and awakens her memory of being Mary – the two women go off. It also becomes clear that Mike is Eli and he was a serial killer who killed the two girls. How this rebirth works is not explained. Steven reveals that Sarah died 18 years ago (and Eli must have died after her) but both Mike and Beth seem clearly older than 18 so reincarnation would seem out, so are they possessed with the spirits of the dead? It doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme. It is suggested that the girls (or Sarah at least) come back periodically and kill. They attack men to avenge themselves but Eli/Mike is a particular target. How this fit in with the devil and the townsfolk's oath... well, I just wasn’t clear.

Given the narrative gaps you’d have thought I’d have hated this. But it wasn’t actually too bad at all. Some of the acting was atrocious and most was amateurish but the direction offered an off-kilter edge that carried me along. The transformation of the girls into vampires (or ekimmu) seems to have been caused by incorrect burial (they are in a shallow grave in the woods). They are not restricted to night time and we see them in daylight (indeed we see them hunt the day). They do seem to be able to become incorporeal.

Surreal, yes. Low budget, definitely. Flawed, absolutely. But even so, it had something. 4 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

On Demand @ Amazon US

On Demand @ Amazon UK

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