Insomnia causes a writer to suffer from hallucinations. He's distracted, irritated and slowly going mad. He's soon taking it out on the people around him, and he's not afraid to take violent measures.
For a while now we have been planning to do our very first double-review for Trevor Juenger's "Coyote". He's a good friend of ours so both me and Preston wanted to get our opinion out there. Not to mention "Coyote" is also the second film to be produced in the D.I.Y. Kino movement which was started with "Coyote" and our own film, "Dust Box". Anyway, we ended up deciding to do two different reviews for it. Info and a few other things will be copied in both reviews, but otherwise they represent out separate opinions. Spreading the Film Bizarro love, that's all! If you want to read Preston's review, click here!
Let's continue with my (Ronny's) review then, shall we!?
Trevor Juenger's "Coyote" is not connected to the short film we reviewed recently - they are very much different movies. The short film was a different take on werewolves, and Juenger's is the story of a man, his typewriter and his insomnia. Bill works at a moving company by day, and his nights... well, that's there things are going awry. He tries to write but his extreme insomnia makes it hard for him. It's pushing him to the edge. He's suffering from hallucinations and is functioning less and less as a normal person. We're talking downright insane!
The movie pulls inspiration from many fantastic places, but it's hard to say I've ever seen a film quite like "Coyote". We've seen serial killer movies before, we've seen experimental and stylistic horror, but this is putting together all the components in a different way. It brings to mind titles like "Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer" just as much as it does "Videodrome" or even "Naked Lunch" (that's a bit shallow to say, with the typewriter, but Cronenberg in general), and I think that's a great compliment. It's a bold mix of most genres and pulls it out well.
"Coyote" is packed with visual treats, and this might be where Trevor Juenger stands out the most. This is his first venture into features and you can tell that his training in the short format has paid off. Not only in the great cinematography, but in his experimentation. It's hard to forget the wonderful sequence towards the end where Bill's going berserk. It's experiments that actually pay off in building atmosphere, not just making the movie weird. They're peculiar and weird, no doubt, but it helps building tension in every scene of violence. It's more creative in its violence than you'd be used to, as it's not just about the ways of killing, but how it's shown.
There is a comedic tone through-out, but trust me when I say it's blacker than the night. It uses comedy to bring the viewer a bigger experience, and a lot of the time it's used in a way to highlight how insane Bill is. Bill Oberst Jr. plays his role perfectly, since he can really bring out the crazy in his character, but also because he understands the way Juenger wants to use the comedy. Had anyone else played the role it could have been a mess, but when you watch Bill Oberst Jr. you don't know if you want to hide, laugh or cry.
The violence is not extreme, but it's done with such style and care that you'll remember most of them longer than any random torture flick. The movie isn't shy to be brutal or explicit, but it's all about the psychological turmoil. A scene that brings together all of these things is when Bill sees a pulsating vagina instead of glass in an old camera's lens. Yes. It gets weird. Very weird, at times.
When the film ends it lingers in your mind for a long time. The ending shot is phenomenally haunting and luckily it stays on through the end credits. "Coyote" is a new kind of psychological horror. While I can see similarities to some titles, it's standing on its own. Trevor Juenger offers everything we're all about here at Film Bizarro and I couldn't be more proud of him. We've enjoyed his short films for some time, but he went above and beyond with his first feature. "Coyote" is a sleepless nightmare and, frankly, a punch to both my head and gut. It's a triumph of modern independent filmmaking and almost destined to become a cult classic.