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Beyond the Black Rainbow – 7

Director – Panos Cosmatos

Cast – Eva Bourne, Michael Rogers, Scott Hylands, Rondel Reynoldson, Marilyn Norry

Release Year – 2012

Reviewed by John of the Dead

While looking at lists of 2012’s top horror films I came across one film a few times that grabbed my attention, Beyond the Black Rainbow. The reviewers claimed it wasn’t a devout horror film, but that the end result was a visually epic and mind boggling ride, and for the most part they are right. In what feels like 2001: A Space Odyssey meets the horror genre, this Canadian flick from Greek writer/director Panos Cosmatos is an incredible experience that may be a turn off to some, but will nonetheless be an experience they will remember. While not heavy in scares, Beyond the Black Rainbow‘s subject matter is most definitely horrific and may very well be one of the best horror films of 2012.

While battling heavy sedation, the young and mentally gifted Elena tries desperately to make her way out of Arboria, a secluded and futuristic compound where she is held captive by a maniacal doctor.

It is not often that we see horror films like this so it does not surprise me that the film received some pretty positive attention from fans and reviewers. Set in the 1980s, Panos Cosmatos pays homage to the atmospheric and visual flicks of that timeframe, with Altered States coming to mind as a film this one somewhat resembles. The story is an incredibly simple on that focuses on two things, Elena’s torment and escape and Dr. Niles’ ever-growing obsession with her and her mental abilities. Very little dialogue is spoken and the film relies more on what we see to sell the film. With Elena’s case we view her vivid flashbacks to earlier, happier times, and with Dr. Niles we view his developing collapse into madness. The situation between Elena and Niles is horrific itself, but thankfully we are given some cool scenes of horror and the few deaths to go with them. Is the film a scary one? No, not at all, but it is definitely a film that is hard to talk about given how heavily it focuses of visuals instead of story. While this is not a bad story by any means I most definitely do not feel it had the capacity to fulfill a 110 minute experience. There is a lot of downtime in this piece and at at times I found myself drifting in an out of it, ultimately deciding that while this was an interesting piece I will not forget, it is unlikely I will watch it again.

Cosmatos’ direction is pretty great and is definitely the film’s major selling point. With a simple story you must have good direction to keep the viewer engaged, and he mostly succeeded in what he set out ot do. The visuals and cinematography are amazing and as I mentioned earlier, come off much like 2001: A Space Odyssey, which I assume most of us will either like or dislike. For me personally I did not care for the constant visual engagements and slow moving scenes of what appear to be just nonsense sometimes, but we all have our preferences. The acting was good, although the actors did not have to act very much, and I had no major qualms with Casmotos direction, which was the only reason I chose to stick it out with this 110 minute film.

Overall, Beyond the Black Rainbow is a visually engaging film that relies little on story and more on what you see. Some will be opposed to this while others will find joy in Cosmatos’ direction and imagery, however in the end this is one of those films you will remember for a while, regardless.

Rating: 7/10

…Additional Stills…

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