Sunday, December 23, 2018

Kiss my Ashes – review

Director: Sam Salerno

Release date: 2018

Contains spoilers

There is weird and that can be good. Some directors specialise in weird and you can recognise the genius within that surrealism. Then you have this. In many respects weird for weird’s sake this struggles to maintain coherency through its length.

That’s not to say that there weren’t any clever ideas within, just that it didn’t realise them very well and the affected dialogue was not the greatest. There were also some lazy moments.

dead priest
One of those comes in the opening scene as we see a priest dead, holding a cross. A glass is scraped through the blood and then we see our vampire, Gregory (Brett Burrier), drink from the glass… except, there wouldn’t have been any quantity of liquid gathered in the glass of which to drink. The scene becomes incoherent because we know that what we see cannot be. Similar happens in the next scene.

at the table
We have Gregory speaking with Cynthia (Dani Ardilla), they sit at opposite ends of a long table. She is in the twilight of her years and they speak of love (and how Gregory is bored with life). Cynthia is his wife and she has aged as he has not. There might have been a whole exploration of loss and immortality seeing mortality slip away. There really wasn’t of any value or interest (there is more lore around his wife, which I’ll come to). They kiss over the table but, given the length of the table the kiss would have been physically unfeasible. Eventually they go to the bathroom and she bathes him (stock water sound effects don’t match the sponging on screen) and he remembers his original love – mother nature – and a daffodil that was cut and then bled (symbolic probably). He does call his marriage loveless.

Mykayla Booth as Scarlet
We then meet another character, Scarlet (Mykayla Booth), who is being bullied by Taylor (Danto Dwiananto) and Tiffany (Samantha Gordon). Their dialogue seems unreal, ill-fitting with the characters. Scarlet walks home from school and finds, under a bridge, a severed penis. She picks it up and takes it home, putting it in water (removing from the water a daffodil that had been there) and then calling Tiffany to come and see. At each turn I ask why. Tiffany threatens to tell the whole school, well she would, wouldn’t she? The IMDb blurb suggests it is a magic penis, which probably explains why it doesn’t rot.

Wee Matt as Clive
We also meet a couple of cops, soon to retire Sam (Gary Tang) and young nihilist Tim (Jaime Thordsen). They are meant to be investigating a spate of murders with blood drinking involved (I think he drank the blood, says Sam later, as the camera rests on a blood-stained wine glass) but Tim is obsessed with Gregory – assuming incest between him and Cynthia. Finally we meet Clive (Wee Matt) aka the Moonchild – a little person who is a drug dealing/using pimp and a being with special powers, who vacillates between being murderous and benevolent, and part of a prophecy involving Gregory and a demon. Clive is the actual murderer – often killing in astral form – who then allows Gregory to feed from his victims.

the demon
I’ll go no further in the story but in the lore… well Gregory was heir apparent to a throne when he met the demon and sold his soul for immortality. The deal did not go as well as he expected as he developed a thirst for blood and his commoner love of his life killed herself. He moved out into the wilds, living with nature, when he met a new woman, who died and a healer put his first love’s heart in her chest to revive her. Since then each wife he has had also had his first love’s heart but eventually they grow old and die.

heart in hand
Well, it is strange but the strangeness wasn’t handled well and the dialogue just seemed stilted and unnatural – perhaps that was the aim but it didn’t work. The general story was odd for the sake of it but had no hook to drag the viewer with it and overall I was really disappointed with this. Gregory (or, indeed, any other character) elicited no viewer sympathy. The acting wasn’t great – vacillating between ironically bored to shouty. Overall not great. 2 out of 10 reflects the fact that I think there was a thought to try and do something unusual and thought-provoking but ultimately it was just weird and more than a tad languid with no real point.

The imdb page is here.

On Demand @ Amazon US

On Demand @ Amazon UK

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