Fantasia ’21 Review – When I Consume You

I was a big fan of Perry Blackshear’s 2015 debut They Look Like People, and I’m delighted to say that When I Consume You more than lives up to the high standard of that film.

As with that earlier film, When I Consume You follows the efforts of two people to deal with overwhelming psychological maladies – in this case, PTSD stemming from childhood abuse. Sister Daphne Shaw (Libby Ewing) and her brother Wilson (Evan Dumouchel) are struggling to keep it together in the cold grey edges of New York, but it transpires that their past trauma and current distress may not be entirely of this world – and that a demonic figure with glowing yellow eyes may be the author of their misfortune. Can they escape his clutches, or even vanquish him for good, when their bodies, minds and souls may not survive this supernatural duel long?

This is a bleak, bracing genre film, blasting straight from the heart like an icy wind, bringing together occult and folk horror with Buddhist spiritualism. Ewing and Dumouchel, each so good in They Look Like People, again give superb performances, channeling an overwhelming sense of emotional devastation and grief. The denouement, when it comes, is unlike most other horror films of this ilk – and shows a hard-won melancholy wisdom, and a deep love for these characters, warm and true. Highly recommended.

When I Consume You plays again tonight (August 20th) at the Fantasia Film Festival.

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