AW Kautzer's Film Review Fantasia Film Fest Film

When I Consume You – Fantasia Film Festival 2021

When I Consume You

A brother and sister confront their demons both literal and figurative in Writer/Director Perry Blackshear’s When I Consume You.

Perry Blackshear’s When I Consume You shows his continued growth as a filmmaker with his mixture of drama and horror.   

Brother and Sister Wilson Shaw (Evan Dumouchel) and Daphne Shaw (Libby Ewing) are as tight as any pair of siblings can be.  They suffered years of abuse at the hands of their parents.  The abuse was so terrifying it crippled Wilson with anxiety so bad he’s been relegated to janitorial jobs.  It has made Daphne fiercely protective of her brother who has her own issues with mental stability.  Though there may be more to their cycle of abuse.  Something far more sinister.  When tragedy strikes it is up to Wilson to summon the courage to face demons both internal and external and very real. 

Writer/Director Perry Blackshear has quickly become an articulate and powerful filmmaker within the horror genre.  When I Consume You much like his second film The Siren features damaged people dealing with circumstances both real and otherworldly.  Here the filmmaker tackles the darkest of subject matters with child abuse and the repercussions that trauma has on people in their adult lives.  Blackshear’s script is adroitly lean and economical with the story being essentially a two-hander.  That is not a limitation in the filmmaker’s hands.   

When I Consume You is the kind of intimate portrait of two damaged souls that the horror genre can create without the ugliness and preachiness of a drama.  Blackshear’s themes are buried in the subtext and not the super text that’s often the case with “family dramas” that cover the same ground.  Smartly, the film never allows for those kinds of navel-gazing platitudes.  Rather When I Consume You is designed to scare and unnerve as much as it is a portrait of siblings attempting to overcome past trauma.

Ultimately the power of the film is in its final moments.  Moments that are about not extinguishing but ones of recognition.  The recognition of our past traumas and past abuses.  This is where the film gathers its power.  In its understanding of how recovery and healing work.  We are never rid of the inner and outer demons that haunt us.  No matter how hard we try.  The only way to move past them is the recognition that the dark is as much a part of you as the light.  If only other loftier films could make their points as elegantly as When I Consume You.  

When I Consume You premiered at Fantasia Film Festival 2021 on August 18th with an Encore Presentation on August 20th.

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