He grunts, He growls, He slurps when He drinks, and He hums in his sleep; I’d want to kill him too.
I was intrigued by the story line of the movie He and after I chose it to review I decided to look at the director’s website and watch the trailer. Once seeing it I was, shall we say, less enthusiastic. What I thought I would be getting was a hack job of a movie with bad acting and a storyline ruined by the ineptitude of the director. What I got however was the most pleasant of surprises, not Oscar worthy performances by any stretch of the imagination, but a quirky, funny, entertaining and thoroughly unpredictable movie starring the film’s writer and director Creep Creepersin; who also fronts a rock band called, you guessed it, Creepersin.
With a name like Creep Creepersin I was a bit apprehensive when I put the DVD of He into my player. I don’t know what I was expecting exactly but things like bloody human body parts and scenes of Satan worship definitely went through my mind. I am relieved to tell you that there was not one bloody appendage or one pentagram in the whole movie. The old adage “Don’t judge a book by its cover,” well that definitely applies here.
Creepersin portrays the title character “He,” a man married to a woman who can barely stand to be in the same room with him. When an anonymous envelope arrives at their home containing nothing but the word “Proceed” written on it, “He” begins to wonder if his wife wants to be rid of him permanently. In order to get to the truth, “He” goes on a journey that blurs the lines of fantasy and reality, leaving the audience in the dark as to what is fact and what is simply the imagination of a man who may be on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
Quirky is the word when it comes to the indie film He. It opens with an odd scene of our protagonist carrying on with the most mundane of functions; brushing teeth, showering and then preparing his breakfast in a manner befitting a man with a much happier life. He sits down to eat amidst a distant wife and a tank full of playful goldfish, his mood remains lighthearted as he hums and slurps in obvious culinary delight. Seems like a pretty unremarkable moment, right? However, it sets the tone for the whole movie, immediately we develop a rapport with the lead character, experiencing with him the ordinary tasks of life that we all can relate to. “He” is us and we are him, it brings us into his life causing us to care about the character and what befalls him. The scene is a relational one and gives the viewer an immediate affinity for the husband, which makes us much more willing to take the strange journey he embarks on as his life and marriage start to unravel.
In contrast to the warmies we have for Creepersin’s character, his wife is another matter altogether. Ariauna Albright plays the cold and bitter spouse who despises the very presence of her husband. On the outside we see a selfish and controlling person who wiles away her time on endless crossword puzzles, while dressed in the garb of an aging whore. However, she is far from the one dimensional shrew we think her to be. We learn as the film progresses that she is not the only one struggling with the mess that is their lives; “Mrs. He” is carrying a painful burden, one that causes her to lash out at her husband.
The performances aren’t first rate but they are sincere and because of that, it is easy to overlook the subpar acting. Creepersin created a world that fits the strange nature of these characters, ones that include not only “He” and the wife but also a host of other bizarre individuals that move in and out of this strange story. It is also a place where the audience is often off balance, not quite sure if the scenes they are viewing are real or all in the head of the husband. The actors only use pronouns to address each other which is another technique used by Creep to add to the surreal atmosphere of this film. Still, we are drawn in by the plight of this character because we care about what happens to him, even though he seems two cylinders short of a working engine.
By far the worst aspect of He is the audio and video qualities. Although in Dolby 2.0 Stereo, the dialogue was either uncomfortably loud or annoyingly soft, so much so that at times it was difficult to make out what was being said. A high point was the song played at the opening and closing credits, a Creepersin original called “To Be Loved by You,” a beautifully haunting song that worked with the mood of the movie. The video quality was grainy and the colors dull even though it was shot in 1.33.1 full frame. There is one scene in particular where “He” is jealously looking at the Christmas light decorations of his neighbor and because of the low grade quality of the film, these lights were about as festive as a New Years Eve bash at the in-laws (not my in-laws, they’re wonderful people). All of those weaknesses made it painfully obvious that money WAS an object in the making of He.
The extras were minimal, but you get an interesting behind the scenes discussion of how He, Matt Turek who played ‘The Hitman’ and who is a frequent actor in many of Creep’s movies. Also included were trailers for five other Creepersin films.
All in all, I enjoyed He more than I could’ve hoped, it made me laugh and kept me engaged until the very end. A most unconventional and imperfect movie but definitely worth a tub of popcorn, as you and your mate get cozy on the couch and become part of a Creepersin world.
Not Guilty, just a small fine for the poor audio and video quality.