I love horror. Real horror. A private fantasy can be really excellent, one private fear blown up huge for all to see infecting the viewers with a new terrifying unknown. I love a public terror. One everyone shares. I love it when they’ve tapped into the big one, and you know it’s always been there. Once hid well beneath the surface but now it’s here. With us.
I love disaster. With disaster things must first be right, and then they are wrong. Isn’t it so good, to know right from wrong? Of all disaster though, one kind is my favorite. A special kind. Where a creators intentions good hearted all, are present and on their sleeves. A malicious glare never shown at any steps of the way. Yet, somehow… everything still goes terribly, terribly wrong.
With films such as this I love to imagine the creeping dread that slowly manifested on the cutting room, where what was once a light hearted farce began to uncoil into a creature of abject dread. The creators begin to see what has been wrought, but still refuse to acknowledge. For if they did, what options would they have? Would they be able to withstand what they have made with an honest eye?
Anything would be easier, so they smile and they nod and they tell themselves that what they have created is good. That what they have created walks, a just path. That although what they have created is maybe not particularly wise, that at least surely it’s good? If that turns out not to be the case at least, once they are done then they can smile and everyone around them will smile and haven’t they all done something like this before? Soon this be nothing but a memory.
Films like this are rare, and only for the very brave. They will challenge ones very sense of aesthetic demolishing what is known to be enjoyable. If one can find pleasure in such a sordid brew, does one truly deserve pleasure at all? Perhaps there is no pleasure in this world and we are all mired in nothing but a sickening, fetid bog of other peoples confused ideas. Struggling to breathe as it pulls us under, our lungs slowly filling. As we float downwards into nothingness free of the world we find ourselves free to ask of ourselves the big questions. We can finally ask, did we enjoy the many minutes Kevin Spacey spends getting us to hate him? We can ask, did we find mirth in the endless sound of distressed alien yowling? Did we smile watching Kevin Spacey inhabit a creature both sickly familiar but unlike any we have ever seen? And did we cry, when he said to his long suffering wife
“But I always loved you”
Or is the terror too much to handle? The emotions too twisted and raw? Do we strike out and refuse to give our acceptance and pity to this thing so misshapen and wrong? We struggle to remain free to still hold onto some portion of ourselves, and eventually the vision abates. We find ourselves sound of mind and believe ourselves to be free. We are not.
We have been somewhere and now we know about a place. A place where many minds have tangled together. Where in their collective vision what they have seen is a being of pure pleasure. The thought crosses the mind, is it us who pervert and destroy it by being witness? Is it us, who are wrong? What kind of cruel beings have we become? How could we not feel for a daughters love of her father? Is it possible we have become so cynical that nothing in the film, so full of mirth has brought us joy? When its ends with a suicide attempt, should we not be sad? These are the questions Nine Lives asks of those brave enough to watch. Like the best of cinema it will shake your very belief of who you are to its core. A sensation not very pleasant but then, worthy cinema rarely is.