One man prepares to remove a limb that he perceives as being ‘alien’ or ‘foreign’
The short films continue! Today we have a film from Scotland called DYSMORPHIA, written and directed by Andy Stewart.
The film stars Gordon Holliday as a man with a serious psychological problem. Our nameless character suffers from Body Dysmorphic Disorder, a very serious illness wherein the sufferer feels their limbs are not their own and is driven to remove them by any means necessary. In this case, the character is determined to free himself of his “alien” arm. Mr. Holliday is amazing in this role. It’s hard to believe he has no acting credits before this film was made, and so few after.
It should be noted that the film is not presenting an exact representation of BDD, but a mixture of that and a similiar disorder called Body Integrity Identity Disorder. I’m not as familair with that one, but it is a psychological disorder in which the sufferer feels they need to be an amputee.
This is some heavy stuff to feature in a horror film, as it could be taken to be making light of the condition and those who suffer from it. However, I don’t feel that is what the filmmaker has done. Actually, the very deliberate and methodic way the character goes about this gives a bit of insight. It’s almost ritualistic the way he sets about to the task.
Research on the cast and crew show that this is an early career effort for most of them, and in fact the prosthetic work and special effects (supervised by Mr. Stewart) are created by first time artists Ruthy Devanny and Abbie Sneddon. For a freshman foray into this kind of complex special effects, this is some really great work. In fact, this film won the “Best Practical Effects” award at the Rio Grind Film Festival in Vancouver. The special effects are beyond important in this story. If they failed, the whole thing would have fallen apart.
I must also mention Director of Photography Paul-John Ross. The way he shot this film adds a whole new level to the suspense and horror.
Honestly, I can’t say anything bad about this film at all. I watched it with my hands over my mouth in shock the whole time. it’s difficult to watch, and if you are squeamish you might want to pass on this one.
So using my special short scale of one to five, five being awesome, I’m giving this film 5 blades.