When I first laid eye on “The Insect Chorus,” I confess I wasn’t expecting much. I was expecting a dull, contrived, and pretentious little tale, because when a movie bills itself as “a new kind of fairy tale”, you don’t exactly look for it to be a thrilling low-impact romp. Michael Bay, for example, would never release “a new kind of fairy tale.” Nor would George Romero, John Carpenter, or Jerry Bruckheimer, for that matter.
No, it takes serious cinematic stones to release “a new kind of fairy tale,” mostly because a large quantity of folks do not CARE about fairy tales.
Basically, “The Insect Chorus” is about two sisters who’ve been living together far, FAR too long. Possibly to the point of derangement. Considering that the women in their late twenties are wearing pigtails and jumpers and patent-leather shoes, an argument for derangement is utterly feasible. Anyway, one day, a door-to-door oven mitt salesman for the Hot As Hell brand oven mitt company, Zeb Ebelbu, stops by to offer the insane sisters his wares, as well as a game. A game where the stakes are unimaginably high.
It took me like eight minutes in to realize that Zeb Ebelbu is NOT just a horrendously stupid name but also an anagram for Beelzebub, thanks to the dead giveaway of the Hot As Hell oven mitt company and Zeb’s continual references to “the boss” who just can’t get enough of the color orange.
As fairy tales go, this one definitely fits the bill in the “dark and weird” department. The original Grimm tales were filled with cannibalism and child murder and assorted whatnot, but this one’s about two insane sisters playing games for each other’s freedom.
The downside to “The Insect Chorus” is that the movie blows its entire wad, metaphorically, far too soon. The game is finished in the first half of the movie, thus the rest of it is spent dealing with the aftereffects of same until finally coming to a halt for no clear reason as opposed to ending.
But for its mild incomprehensibility, “The Insect Chorus” most assuredly delivers. It is a new kind of fairy tale, but like most fairy tales, may well wind up putting you to sleep.