Written & Directed by Dakota Bailey
Starring Dakota Bailey, Larry Bay, Nick Benning, Fred Epstein
Indie Film Review by Taryll Baker
Introducing its characters one-by-one, The Acid Sorcerer throws the viewer into the dark and twisted world of drug addiction. Director Dakota Bailey takes us on to the streets for a gritty, up-close experience, Utilising black-and-white for the bulk of the film, and vibrant colouring for scenes including acid, The Acid Sorcerer is a chaotic, depressing mess. But this isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it portrays exactly what I imagine drug abusers lives are like. The desperation, guilt, death. It may be fiction, but a big chunk of it is happening in reality.
The low-budget, hand-held direction is difficult to grasp at first, but after about ten minutes you can start to adjust and feel almost comfortable in this world. Though there isn’t much of a story to tell, what is there is told fairly well. It may be that it isn’t my preferred genre of film, so I guess I’m biased, but apart from the cheap filmmaking and oft-times interesting characters, I couldn’t find much else to like.
There are flaws in the audio, the levels are all over the place at times, and could have been cleaned up in the edit. But as the dialogue is recorded in-camera it’s understandable there were some issues. I would usually look over such a fault with any indie film, however I found myself struggling to hear lines, causing me to constantly change the volume to suit scenes.
The characters are interesting enough for the running length, but with more adjustments, could have been truly three dimensional. Dakota, Larry Bay, Nick Benning are all wonderful actors, though the writing leaves much to be desired in their performances. Benning in particular takes an interesting role, and probably one of the more unique and memorable characters in the film.
Instead of an original score, Dakota uses the music of Ramesses to accompany the visuals. This was clearly a favoured approach and whilst not my preferred taste, worked for the film. The cinematography is simple, lots of wide shots, shaky angles and close-ups. The simple approach really work for this style of filmmaking, but I longed for something more to keep me invested.
It seems as though Dakota Bailey has an interest in the drug world, and with the right resources, could go on to create some truly brilliant pieces of work. The Acid Sorcerer isn’t awful by any means, but I do think it’s supposed to be viewed like that. The subject is awful, and so the film gives us a glimpse of that awfulness. I’m torn; I’m not certain if I liked it or not. But what I can say is that it does show the brutal impact of drug addiction, wrapped tightly within its horror genre.