The Empty Man

The Empty Man ★★½

After watching this high budget remake of The Bye Bye Butterfly Kisses...I find myself rolling my eyes more at the cheeky Kubrick signals than any of all the been-there done-thats.

For example:

1) The set and camera placement from Full Metal Jacket randomly appears during a summer camp investigation of a cult. Why? Because the director liked that movie, that's why!
2) The driving sequence that opens The Shining appears halfway through the film. Does the director use the labyrinthine cinematography to signal anything beyond HEY MEMBER THIS MOVIE? nope. I just know this movie maker likes Kubrick. Great.

I digress.

The M-T Man is three distinctly different movies in each of its acts. The opening is a fun teaser of demonic tomfoolery not unlike The Exorcist (also lots of rustling leaves in this movie). The second act is any urban-myth teenager PG13 thriller where kids get in over their heads fooling around with a dang old demon. The final act is a mix of Kubrick and Cronenberg where a hapless character is under the spell of a powerful entity that forces him to question his existence and change his identity. The Vacuous Human could have strongly benefitted from a very tough editor or storyboarder to reel in this uneven hodgepodge of thrills and derivation; I desperately wanted to enjoy this triptych of random ideas as I appreciated its tone and atmosphere.

If the movie does anything right, it foreshadows its ending with just some thoughtful cinematography. I could see where the film was going around the 45 minute mark from just watching the character navigate dark spaces as a silhouette. If only the film had more organic sequences like these, I could have really fallen in love with it. Oh well 🙄🙄🙄

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