Directed by: #KyleKleege
Written by: Kyle Kleege
The iconography and impact of David Cronenberg’s Videodrome is probably more relevant than ever with technology’s growing influence over life and our society’s moral decay. The sickening images of machines merged with flesh are perhaps just a stone’s throw away, though we probably won’t be so overly reliant on videotapes. The iconic body horror imagery from the film has been an influence on the horror genre as well with other Cronenberg films but Kyle Kleege’s film Static appears to be a direct homage. Not particularly engaging and lacking emotional investment, Static follows Erin’s struggle with disturbing visions after a tragedy.
Kleege's underdeveloped script poor establishes the characters, their relationships and connection to the creepy Cronenberg imagery are what fails Static as Kleege’s writing and direction can’t create an interesting narrative. Despite a short runtime, the film can’t keep your attention as Charity Buckbee’s performance as Erin is left bland by Kleege’s lack of vision for the film. There is a critical disconnect between character and audience as Erin’s grief and trauma feel hollow and inauthentic, the focal relationship between Erin and Will has no grounding and it’s hard for audiences to care what happens to these characters. Until the third act, a lot of the film reminded me of Babak Anvari’s film Wounds which also tiredly went through a storyline of an individual having visions after witnessing disturbing imagery. Though most of Static feels like it’s sleepwalking through its necessary contexts and filler so it can get to its final and most interesting scene.
While the third act reveals are not shocking from a narrative perspective, Kleege’s direction fails in getting audiences engaged with the material, the Videodrome visuals that take over are enough to finally draw you in. Entirely from an aesthetic interest though, the makeup and special effects work by Jared Balog is terrific, a fine tribute to the obvious inspirations. It’s creepy, unnerving and it’s a shame the script isn’t able to make use of it beyond a visual perk but that’s really all Static has on offer; decent Videodrome makeup homage with none of the nuance or artistry that defined the original film. It’s obvious that Kleege wanted to explore the same type of themes with technology, violence and relationships but has nothing to say with it. It’s an empty film with some brief visual flourishes that aren’t enough to save it.
I don’t want to keep mentioning Videodrome but it’s the only thought that will be stuck in your head after watching Static. These clear influences prevent Kleege from presenting any sense of unique style in his film and filmmaking.