Directed by: #AntonyDeGennaro
A theatrical make-up artist witnesses the murder of his city’s mayor and becomes unwillingly caught up in a conspiracy scheme led by a supernatural cult, in this flawed crime horror feature film.
IMThem (2020), directed by Antony DeGennaro, a Seattle-based director and producer, follows David Hayess (Clayton Ballard) who is content with his work as a make-up artist, until his casual lifestyle is stripped away when he is framed for the death of his city’s mayor and forced to go on the run, only to become involved in an even bigger conspiracy – vampires exist! Think Hot Fuzz (2007), featuring an ordinary, everyday guy caught up in a mysterious plot involving death and violence, but instead of religion, it’s the supernatural which resides. Unfortunately, this film lacks any of the charm, fun or visual flair to engage with its unconventional, if slightly intriguing, premise.
The stylistic vision of the movie is mostly unclear, which, combined with a confusing and unfocused narrative, creates a sense of disconnect and it is often difficult to interpret what DeGennaro’s intentions were. Despite this, the film does incorporate some potent disturbing imagery due to the horror/supernatural subject matter, with jarring camera angles and desaturated filters creating effectively chilling moments where actors peer directly at the viewers during what appears to be normal conversations. However, the disjointed and lacklustre plot with barely developed characters results in a film which feels rather unfocused in its execution. Perhaps the sense of too much going on with little focus is the result of too many co-writers working on the project. DeGennaro orchestrates many homages to classic cinematic horror tropes, such as quick editing and cuts, as well as harsh lighting underneath the perpetrator’s face, unfortunately leading to probable unintentional moments of humour in an otherwise dreary plot.
Clayton Ballard’s lead has very little to work with and sadly leaves a lot to be desired and the same can be said for many of the stars. The film has an ensemble cast of many characters and the majority of the dialogue is usually flat and expositional; whether intentional or not, is difficult to decipher in the confusing plotting.
On the brighter side, the film’s musical score, arranged by Spacecraft 11, is certainly one of the stronger elements it has to offer. The soundtrack is energetic and exciting during chase sequences when David attempts to evade capture by cult, as well as eerie and anticipatory with harsh, sudden crescendos of sounds which effectively build suspense. As with the filmmaking techniques, the score utilises recognisable horror sound design tropes with high screeches of strings played in places where death and violence are present. It marks a fond reminder and affectionate call back to influential horror classics like Psycho (1960) and are welcome additions to the film.
Although IMThem does have its merits, they are too few and far between to redeem this ambiguous, lacklustre feature. The film certainly evokes elements of intrigue with its unique premise and valiant attempts at creating disturbing imagery and an effective score, yet the contrived plot and stilted performances let this particular vampire fest down.
IMThem (2020) Film Trailer: