Color, 2014, 81 mins. 19 secs.
Directed by Henrik Möller
Starring Lina Sundén, Martin Jirhamn, Jenny Lampa, Patrik Karlson, Ingrid Torstensson
Intervision (Blu-ray & DVD) (US R0 HD/NTSC) / WS (1.78:1) (16:9)
Very loosely inspired by H.P. Lovecraft's short story The Colour Out of Space, this low-budget, black-and-white cosmic horror film marks the feature debut of Henrik Möller, a Swedish director of dozens of animated and live-action experimental shorts. Here he tackles a fairly straightforward horror/sci-fi hybrid story and twists it into something striking and alien, an oppressive claustrophobic nightmare that manages to mix an art house sensibility with some unnerving and occasionally very transgressive images.
In order to track down her missing daughter, Jenny, asthmatic Sara (Sundén) slaps on a ball cap, tucks away a knife in her pocket, and poses as a cleaning crew job candidate for a mysterious research facility where cell phones are forbidden. On site she undergoes the weirdest job interview ever courtesy of a physical abusive interviewer and a shaking, naked, shaggy-haired bum hiding under a blanket in the corner. Nevertheless she gets the job and, while changing into her work overalls, is told to wear eye protection at all times to protect her from "the light." Her job is to sweep away all of the sparkling dust that collects beneath every light source in the building, After one of her coworkers gets covered in the glittering gold slime and turns into a black-eyed, bloody mess by a shadowy creature, she joins forces with a short-tempered supervisor (Jirhamn) and her significantly altered documentarian ex-husband (Karlson), who claims "the light changes time," to unravel the multi-dimensional mystery.
Featuring a limited setting and number of characters, Feed the Light makes the most of its assets with a flicking, grainy visual style that occasionally injects color into the proceedings, mainly red (for blood and Jenny's coat a la Don't Look Now) and a grimy yellow-lime or steel-blue tint for scenes inside the lower levels of the building. Apart from Sundén, who's given some real word gravity thanks to the back story of her recent custody battle with her ex, the characters behave in an odd, frequently aggressive manner that makes it difficult to predict exactly where it's all heading. The film isn't afraid to go for shock value, either; there's a good reason someone in the end credits gets a nod for "rectum effect," a moment guaranteed to make you say, "Well, I've never seen something like that before."
Making its English-language home video debut on Blu-ray and DVD from Intervision, Feed the Light looks true to its intended look here with a gritty, sometimes distressed look but with strong detail and fine grain visible throughout. It's a look similar to films like Tetsuo, so adjust your expectations accordingly. The LPCM Swedish 2.0 stereo track sounds strong, particularly the effective synth score by Testbild that integrates very creatively with the dense sound design. As for extras, you get the theatrical trailer, a 15-minute selection of making-of footage and cast interviews (mostly focusing on the most shocking moment in the film and a climactic stabbing), and "The Lovecraft Influence" (3m35s), in which Möller briefly covers the origin of the project and the process of selecting the right Lovecraft story as a jumping-off point for the story.