Sam Salerno’s (Death by 1,000 Cuts) new film Wormhole is eight and a half minutes of beautifully shot what the fuck did I just watch? And I mean that literally because while I’m fairly certain the film has something to say about sex, relationships and reproduction I couldn’t figure out just what that message was.
Wormhole has no audible dialogue, any conversation is drowned out by an industrial-sounding noise in the background. The sets are filled with strange books, Venus flytraps and strange artwork. The walls bring forth monsters.
Against this backdrop, a man (Shane Ryan) calls a woman (Every Heart) and goes to her apartment. They have what may be the most intentionally unerotic-looking sex I’ve seen in a movie. He leaves while she’s sleeping, but getting away may not be that easy.
Shot with incredibly exaggerated colours and lighting, Wormhole frequently reminded me of Stephen Sayadian’s Dr. Caligari. It may not be a coincidence that it’s another film with a plot rooted in sexual dysfunction that I had trouble figuring out. I don’t know if that film was an influence on Salerno, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it was.
And for a film that I’m sure was shot for next to nothing the effects, especially the thing in the parking garage wall, are very well done.
Wormhole is, as I said, beautiful to look at and held my attention. But in the end, I still couldn’t quite get what the film was trying to say. Which may well be my fault rather than the film’s as I’m much more in tune with the grindhouse than the arthouse these days. Those of you more in tune with surreal films will probably have no issues figuring it all out.