Blu-ray Review: FEED THE LIGHT

2017/07/12 20:58:31 +00:00 | Scott Drebit

It’s easy enough to miss a micro-budgeted film; oftentimes they make the rounds at various festivals and if lucky, are relegated to be buried in a fly-by-night streaming service. And oftentimes, the obscurity is earned. A very low budget requires a high level of talent and ingenuity to survive, which brings us to Feed the Light (2014), Swedish filmmaker Henrik Möller’s riveting, black and white feature length debut lovingly hoisted high on Blu-ray beginning June 27th by those arbiters of the strange and wonderful, Severin Films and its offshoot company, Intervision Picture Corp.

The film opens with Sara (Lina Sundén) being beaten by her ex husband (Patrik Karlson), before he takes their child Jenny (Ingrid Torstensson) away to an undisclosed location. Sara, distraught over losing custody of her daughter (it’s implied she’s a petty thief), tracks them to a dockside facility and breaks in (hence all the pickpocket tools in her possession). Once inside, she is immediately hired by an extremely agitated woman (Jenny Lampa) as a janitor, and she’s taken under the wing of the head of the custodial staff (co-writer Martin Jirhamn) to sweep up ”sparkling dust” that can only be seen under the fluorescent-filled corridors, and if it isn’t, it attracts ”vermin.” (You don’t want the ”vermin.”) Everyone works together to keep ”the light” that fuels the building (and God only knows what else) safe and secure. Sara finally receives help from the foreman and a few other workers to track down her Jenny. But will ”the light,” or the shadow monsters that flit to and fro, stop her?

To be perfectly honest, Feed the Light nearly lost me in the opening ten minutes. It comes on so aggressively odd with the impromptu hiring session at the facility (and we’re never really sure what it is—there’s a whole lot of sweeping and that’s it), that it’s a little off-putting, and fears of 78 minutes of weird-for-its-own sake raced through my head. Not to worry, though; the film soon settles down into a harrowing tale of motherly devotion told in a relatively straightforward narrative.

But what is Sara rescuing Jenny from, exactly? Well, the shadow monsters have a tendency to engulf one’s being, so there’s that; but on a larger scale as she roams through hallways accessed only through secret doors and cell phones (you’ll see), the ”light” itself seems to be the whispered menace. Contained in a sealed container beneath the building, the ”light” only seems interested in a silent and foreboding blind faith which it controls through fear. Right. So is Feed the Light then a metaphor for religious fervor and persecution? Possibly (if you choose), but it is definitely a gripping, suspenseful tale about a mother’s drive to find her child through any means necessary.

Credit to director Möller for crafting a tale on a miniscule budget that never bows under the fiscal pressure, and helps deliver, with a solid cast (especially Sundén, who is wrenching as the distraught Sara), a story that takes the viewer on an engaging trip with some always welcome Lovecraftian nods.

And a wave of the broom to Intervision and Severin Films for bringing this gem above ground for a chance to shine, starting with a transfer that is as good as an under-$20,000 feature is ever going to look. The black and white is very much part of the stark aesthetic and the transfer highlights the lonely claustrophobic feel. As for extras, we get a lively 15-minute "making of" that shows a team having a lot more fun behind the scenes than what transpires in front of it. As well, Möller extols the influence of Lovecraft on a separate, shorter piece where he proudly talks about the film’s win as Best Feature at the 2014 H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival. Add in a trailer, and Intervision has certainly provided enough reasons for Feed the Light to sit on your movie shelf. Just don’t forget to clean every once in a while. That sparkling dust can be a killer.

Movie Score: 4/5,  Disc Score: 4/5

  • Scott Drebit
    About the Author - Scott Drebit

    Scott Drebit lives and works in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. He is happily married (back off ladies) with 2 grown kids. He has had a life-long, torrid, love affair with Horror films. He grew up watching Horror on VHS, and still tries to rewind his Blu-rays. Some of his favourite horror films include Phantasm, Alien, Burnt Offerings, Phantasm, Zombie, Halloween, and Black Christmas. Oh, and Phantasm.