Fantasia 2022: Polaris, the elderly, all supercharged and full of worms | Parties and Awards


It’s frustrating how “The Elderly” becomes so unbalanced – its visual compositions are so striking throughout, but its plot trades the grim for the obvious. I loved a recurring establishment shot that echoed Grandma’s sudden fall, with the camera looking up at the sky and then slamming to the ground from a certain spot, creating a sense of that lingering tragedy. They use the camera with great illustrative emotional focus. But their overdone and boring use of sound – both whining orchestral strings and overzealous creepy leaps, very loud when they premiered at Fantasia – betrays that confidence.

The story itself crumbles like everything should take off; the emotional stakes are clear that the son doesn’t want to bring the father home despite dad’s strange behavior and the strange things he finds written on the walls of dad’s apartment, but are not felt by such a repetitive narration. “The Elderly” drags and then drags until he comes to a conclusion, or answer, that should be disturbing but amounts to a shrug.

Alex Phillips’ “All boosted and full of worms” manages to be one of the most polarizing films you’ll find at any festival, having been designed as a drug trip through and through. Everyone has their own experience with hallucinogens – the film echoes that with a gnarly ensemble comedy where verse is the word. The grimy characters sniff and eat worms, more to inspire free-wheeling sequences that revolve around the concepts of love, parenthood, pregnancy, violence, and more, without it meaning much.

I was sometimes jostled, sometimes amused, sometimes drained by this dirty story that tends to get a little too cute, especially when it goes through large comic beats (idling after a drug experiment, straight out of stuff from the time of Apatow). But every actor here is trying to sell what this film pokes fun at, whether it’s the budding dad who has a doll with a disturbing facial feature, the two people in clown makeup who are shown having sex on a trash can, or the a sex worker who introduces the worms into a knowingly gibberish course of events. The characters turn out to be more memorable than the random nonsense things they drop, seemingly for chance’s sake.


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