FEED THE LIGHT (2014) Blu-ray
Director: Henrik Möller
Intervision Picture Corp.

Experimental short filmmaker Henrik Möller makes his feature debut with the equally bizarre Lovecraftian FEED THE LIGHT, on Blu-ray from Intervision Picture Corp.

When her husband Jon (Patrik Karlson, LFO) wins custody her daughter Jenny (Ingrid Torstensson) with allegations of unfitness due to mental retardation and spirits her away, shiv-wielding, asthmatic Sara (Lina Sundén) traces them to a strange warehouse facility in downtown Malmo staffed solely by maintenance men under the thumb of janitor Martin (co-writer Martin Jirhamn) and his imperious boss (Jenny Lampa, NOT LIKE OTHERS) who are all obsessed with controlling the building's lighting system. Sara manages to pass herself off as an applicant for a cleaning position, a necessary separate position from maintenance because of a need to clean up excessive amounts of glittery dust that the others seem to be afraid of coming into contact. The boss, however, is not fooled by Sara and orders Martin to watch her. Martin badgers a confession out of Sara as to her true reason for being there and agrees to help her. He refers her to "VHS Man" who turns out to be Jon who has inexplicably aged several years as a side effect of the light. He reveals that he and another worker were making a documentary on the light and that the other man was driven to suicide while others have been killed by a dark entity that emerges from the light to kill those susceptible to its influence. Jon claims not to know where Jenny is, but Sara suspects that the workers have given her to the light as a sacrifice. With the help of Jon and Martin, Sara is able to open an invisible door to descend down into the subterranean bowels of the warehouse to face the light and save Jenny.

Very loosely based on H.P. Lovecraft's "The Colour Out of Space", FEED THE LIGHT's approach has been likened to David Lynch but also seems to have come from the same universe as Lars Von Trier's THE KINGDOM miniseries or possibly even Clive Barker's short THE FORBIDDEN with its degraded, sometimes monochrome, sometimes sepia photography with occasional interjections of color as well as some bizarre special effects (this may be the only film with a credit for "rectum effect"). Co-written, directed, shot, and sound-recorded by Möller (with his brother Simon producing and working on sound design and visual effects), the film is very intimate in scale and the minimalist approach to the film's effects may or may not resonate with the viewer depending on how compelled they are by the director's approach to rendering the Lovecraftian sense of creeping chaos. Sundén anchors the humanity of the film, and the bittersweet ending is more effective than the preceding bits of violence and any possible shock ending.

Shot on prosumer HDV high definition video, FEED THE LIGHT looks best on 1080p24 MEPG-4 AVC 1.78:1 widescreen Blu-ray in the brighter scenes with the image deliberately overexposed in many scenes to make the light from the fluorescent tubes more intense (highlights blow out in these scenes but the monochrome image is meant to be high contrast) while any video grain in the original videography suits the gritty image. The LPCM 2.0 Swedish track is restrained in its sound design, with a heavy emphasis on dialogue and occasional effects associated with "the light." The English subtitles are optional and do not contain any glaring errors.

Extras include a behind the scenes piece (15:00) in Swedish with English subtitles in which Möller and Jirhamn discuss the changes in working on a feature with professional actors, with behind the scenes video showing more natural colors and alternate angles from the ones captured by Möller's own camera. The footage not only illustrates a degree of collaboration between the director and actors over individual choices of dialogue and delivery that might have alienated less easy-going actors but also reveals the humor and trepidation with which the actors approach Möller's concepts (he tells Lampa that she can always blame her performance on that "bastard director"). An additional interview with Möller (8:35) finds him discussing how the film was born out of an initial collaboration of a six tale anthology and how he and Jirhamn were inspired by the Lovecraft tale. He also mentions that their initial treatment would have made a six hour series but they decided to narrow things down to the mother/daughter story. He also notes the film's success at various horror film festivals, including the two major Lovecraft-focused ones. The film's trailer (2:24) is also included. (Eric Cotenas)