“I think I’ve done bad things”
Jordyn (played by Paulie Rojas) in Another
Los Angeles director Jason Bognacki, (The White Face, 2012, and the startling short-film, The Red Door from 2008) held the world premiere for his first full-length feature film, Another, at the Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) during two showings on May 17th and 18th. It’s been two days since I left the theater, and I’m still trying to shake Another’s unsettling vibe.
Another started out as a short, and was shot by Bognacki and his wife Aline, as well as a crew that contained the occasional Bognacki family member. But when the Bognacki’s found out that they were expecting, and despite the fact that Aline continued to operate boom mikes and work on other aspects of the film production throughout her pregnancy, shooting was ultimately delayed. What came out of that delay was an 80-minute masterpiece of blood-soaked Italian Giallo, with modern cinematic and auditory infusions.
Bognacki’s direction brought out unforgettable performances from his actors. Especially when it comes to the character of Aunt Ruth, played by veteran actor, Nancy Wolfe, who most notably portrayed Manson family murderess, Susan Atkins in the 1976 TV movie Helter Skelter. Wolfe is an absolute powerhouse in the role of Aunt Ruth – as well as the terrifying ball of glue holding the film’s star, Jordyn (played by Paulie Rojas) together. But Jordyn doesn’t know that. Yet. And following the strange events that occur at her 18th birthday party, Jordyn starts to realize that her life, as she knows it, may not be her own.
The film unwinds in a series of dream-like events with brilliant use of camera effects, color, as well as Bognacki’s gorgeous ambient horror soundtrack mix. All of these things allow the viewer to share in the semi-lucid, Halcion-induced nightmare that Jordan has embarked upon. Jordyn awakes in places unaware of how she got there. Is she just dreaming about bad things, or is she actually doing them? Aunt Ruth reveals to Jordyn her true family history – that dark, powerful forces are actively working against her. Jordyn starts to have hallucinatory interactions with a cloaked figure whose face only a demon could love – played with disturbing and horrifying skill by another long-running actor, Maria Olsen (The Lords of Salem, American Horror Story).
What follows are a series of blurry, blood-soaked events, with homages to Snow White and Rosemary’s Baby, in classic, glossy, Italian Giallo style. This culminates into one of the most legitimately frightening, and unexpected scenes I have seen brought to life on the big screen in many years.
During the Q&A for Another, Bognacki talked about his own experiences with sleepwalking and night terrors that inspired the film. That revelation is further affirmation that the film’s up-close and intimate feel was truly personal. Even baby Bognacki makes an appearance in the film, and is aptly named for one of the true masters of the Spaghetti Western, Sergio Leone. Talk about keeping it in the family. The Bognacki’s set out to make a film worthy of their idol, Dario Argento, and succeeded with near perfection. And it would appear as though others in high places agree. As of this writing, Epic Picture Group has officially picked up Another, and will likely move the film into wider release in the near future.
If you are at all a fan of this horror genre, you will not be disappointed. If you are a fan of big-budget horror films, Another will pleasantly surprise you. And to you, the horror-fan that is always on the lookout for the next future-classic, Another is likely poised for just that honor. So mote it be.