Friday, October 23, 2020

Mimesis Nosferatu – review

Director: Douglas Schulze

Release date: 2018

Contains spoilers

The 2011 film Mimesis, which was subtitled Night of the Living Dead, was a fantastic concept. Mimesis means to imitate reality in art, though in the case of the film it took the concept to imitate art in reality. The story saw a group of people at a horror con tricked to an exclusive party, drugged and waking up in a recreation of the Night of the Living Dead. Those that did it were recreating the film, and acting as the zombies, in a deadly way.

This film is a sequel to that film, using Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens as the film at the heart of this film. We also meet the mastermind behind the cultish group perpetrating the murderous scenario – a mysterious director (for want of a better description) known as the Auteur (Lance Henriksen).

Orlock min the eye

Before we meet him, however, we get a prologue which sees a young boy, Max (Caden Miller), who is watching a projected version of Nosferatu, indeed we see Orlock reflected in his eye. He is shaving his hair off, and as we meet his mother (Kristy Swanson, Buffy the Vampire Slayer & Psych: This Episode Sucks) we discover that she is worried by him – his obsession over the film scares her. When she enters the room, she finds the cat hanging, bloodied, torn to shreds. Max attacks her…

Julie Kline as Tara

The film takes place ten years after that. Now, there is a thing to address now. We have had Lance Henrikson and Kirsty Swanson in the film already, both of whom have their place in the vampire genre. The film is generally extremely meta, however. In the vampire genre we are used to certain names being used. But when an Art Academy is due to put on a play of Dracula, which gets moved to a staged version of Nosferatu, it stretches credulity that there would be no notice of the fact that it is the Harker academy and that one of the pupils is called Quincy (Ezekiel Gordon). That Quincy's surname is Straker, ties him into Salem’s Lot…

Lance Henriksen as the Auteur

We have to suspend our disbelief at this point as the characters are named from the genre throughout and accept that the film has deliberately stepped through the normal referential naming that litters the genre and gone full on Meta. So, for instance we meet theatre teacher and play director Prof. Frederick Kinski (Joseph Scott Anthony) {named for FW Murnau and Klaus Kinski} when pupil Tara (Julie Kline, Blood Immortal) comes to see him {Named, I assume for Tara from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, her surname is Brewster for Fright Night}. She protests that she has been cast as Lucy but is understudy to Mina – feeling that the actress who is Mina, Amy Peterson (Mandalynn Carlson) also named for Fright Night, got the role due to rich donating parents.

Morbius as Orlock

So the film sees Tara and her friends, Ben Mears (Derek Brandon) {Salem’s Lot} and Ed Glick (Jordan Campo) {Fright Night and Salem Lot}, are not the popular kids. Ed, in particular, bullied as he is gay. The new kid, Michael Morbius (Connor Alexander) {the Marvel Character} gravitates to them and also gets cast as Orlock in the play. It really wasn’t hidden from the audience that he would also be the primary character of the mimesis as well. The first part of the film plays like a school slasher, and is entertaining enough around that. But the mimesis aspect becomes stronger as the film progresses and makes the slasher format more interesting as does the manipulation of the situation.

homophobic revenge prank

There is the obligatory sideswipe at Twilight both in Kinski’s dialogue and in the revenge attack on one of the characters, named Jake Cullen (Jaron Gordon) for the very series, after his closeted homophobic attack on Ed. The revenge prank is equally as homophobic, however. There is also the return of Duane (Allen Maldonado) who has been following Morbius (revealing that Morbius also goes by the name Kurt Barlow, as in Salem's Lot) as he hunts down those belonging to the mimesis group, he being a survivor of the Night of the Living Dead. His presence is known though and he is drawn in as a Van Helsing. His character is given the surname Rice, tying in to Anne Rice.

multiple Nosferatu

I enjoyed this. There were moments of slasher stupidity – such as almost shrugging when an unordered crate, with a coffin in it, arrives in your locked garage. But these moments were deliberate I felt, with the film playing with the slasher genre, as well as drawing inspiration from Nosferatu and getting meta with the vampire references. As the auteur is sat a distance from the activity, a distant puppet master, the film can comfortably set us for a further mimesis and I can mention it without it being a spoiler, though the audience is not shown what it will involve. This one, however, sits nicely alongside film number 1. No vampires, of course, but people acting as vampires. 6.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

On DVD @ Amazon US

On DVD @ Amazon UK

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