A Psychotherapist investigates a cult that takes over an Arizona town in 1993.
Ok let’s talk about “Bryan Loves You“. A uniquely engaging film for sure. I will confess that while engaging, I still found myself nodding off midway. I’m not sure if it was the hypnotic drone of a score or the discussion taking place, however with that aside I was determined to see this thru to the end.
“Bryan Loves You” is a 2008 found footage and a cult-centric film arriving during the era where these kinds of films were all the rage. Now, I don’t mind them, but at the time, every movie coming out was a found footage movie of one form or the other. “Bryan Loves You” was part of that pack.
The film was written and directed by Seth Landau who was just getting started into movie making. Like the “paranormal activity” movies, this route is often an easier way to get some recognition in the movie industry, if…. your product cuts the cake.
“Bryan Loves You” is centered in a small Arizona town where it was reported that a small cult who worships a dead prince named Bryan reside. The tale goes that after Bryan was slain by the devil, his legacy to rule as a king went unfulfilled thus leaving the responsibility to seek out the “evil one” to his followers for years after.
In short, the whole town seems to be somewhat brainwashed into believing in this false deity crossing over into schools, hospitals, and local security. In fact, oddly enough everyone also seems to have a weird Halloween mask at their disposal on a moment’s notice.
The participants or followers of Bryan are often seen wearing white masks in unison as a ritualistic practice honoring his greatness. Masks are intermittently worn which confuses the actual practice of wearing them. They do add an expected creepiness to the film but nothing new that we haven’t seen in films like “The Strangers” (another 2008 movie).
Psychotherapist documentarian Jonathan (Seth Landau) has set out to investigate this cult while filming it under the guise of it being security footage. His drive is centered around the notion that the religious cult has been murdering people.
Jonathan is aware of the potential dangers and yet continues on a determined purpose to create a piece that reveals more about these people’s mysterious allegiance to a (rather insignificant) person of the past, Bryan.
It deserves being noted that in research, the cult of Bryan was a real reported cult group that residing in Arizona. The movie is a fiction piece based on this.
While the idea of weird cults has been around for decades, I still believe the psychological effect and purpose is something of interest. I would also guess that many of the younger followers in this town were brought up under this guise of abstract loyalty. For the rest of us, its a study in red flags to be aware of.
The constant mention of the phrase “Bryan loves You” to outsiders is a play of the principles of Christianity but is also used as a comfort phrase to someone who is about to undergo some degree of trauma.
“Bryan Loves You” is low budget movie that does its best to make a compelling piece. The acting here was odd and scattered making it somewhat of a droll and laughable at other times. While I reported that it was based on reports of a real cult, I just couldn’t wrap my arms around this as a worthy found footage piece. It lacked the special qualities that make those kind of films attractive, instead it was more like watching a behind the scenes tape of bad acting.
In closing, Bryan might love me, though I just can’t reciprocate my feelings for the film.