If the word “subversive” excites you in any way, I’ve got a strange, little film to hand you in a plain, brown paper bag. Filmmaker Joseph F. Alexandre walks you down a path to mind-control and insanity. So let’s hold hands and take that big first life-altering step Into The Chasm (also known as ShadowPlay).
Storywise, I’ll be brief. Mike Nelson (Kurt Mattsen) is an aspiring actor. His producer friend, Chris (Chris Zobin), hooks him up with a mysterious money guy, Mr. Christian (John Crowther). Mr. Christian likes Nelson and wants him to star in his upcoming production, but Mr. Christian produces unusual films. They are “art films,” but clearly there is something wrong with the screenwriter, D. Swenson (Dan Taggatz).
“Watching these fictitious films has permanent psychological effects on its audiences…”
Watching these fictitious films has permanent psychological effects on its audiences, which asks why artists in every medium ultimately go insane—there’s a fine line between art and insanity. Writer/ director/ editor/ cinematographer Joseph F. Alexandre describes the movie as “a meditative piece on the nature of violence in the U.S. and offers in its subtext a few possible reasons why.”
So, here’s the deal. Into The Chasm is an early work of Alexandre (whose work we’ve reviewed in the past). I have very little information about this actual production, but based on its quality, it was shot in the first days of VHS camcorders somewhere in the early 90s. Which honestly works for and against him.
First, the worst thing about Into The Chasm is the audio quality throughout the film. Dialogue is not captured well with lots of ambient noise muddling its quality, and I would describe it as the exact opposite of hi-fidelity. I often struggled with understanding dialogue to the point of intense frustration.
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