SUNDANCE FILM FESTIVAL 2021 REVIEW! The Blazing World is the feature debut of Carlson Young, who directed and co-wrote the film, and is also the lead actress. She premiered her eponymous short at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival, and three years later, she has the completed full-length version under her belt.
Margaret Winter (Carlson Young) is a college student who is still suffering from severe childhood trauma. One late afternoon, while out catching fireflies with her sister, Lizzie (Lillie Fink), young Margaret (Josie Fink) looks through a window and sees her father, Tom (Dermot Mulroney), abusing her mother, Alice (Vinessa Shaw). While she is looking through the window, Lizzie is chasing after a firefly around the pool. She ends up falling in and drowning. This event haunts Margaret in a very real way. The day that it happened, a strange man is standing next to a large hole in the sky, beckoning her to join him. This man still haunts her dreams and thoughts.
“…if Margaret opens four doors with four different keys, possessed by four demons, she can rescue her sister…”
Coming back to the present day, Tom and Alice are somehow still married, though Alice constantly lives on the precipice of a total breakdown, and Tom is always rip-roaring drunk. They’re moving from Margaret’s childhood home. Alice calls Margaret and tells her that she should pack up her room, and they can get rid of anything she doesn’t want. The thought of going home makes Margaret extremely wary, and the visions of the mysterious man become more frequent and haunting. Once she gets there, Margaret doesn’t know which end is up, and subsequently, neither do we. She goes out with her childhood friends and maybe takes some acid, though it’s not 100% clear if that actually happened.
"…as if Alice in Wonderland somehow took place in a Dario Argento film."