A nightmarish journey through a recollection of disjointed imagery.
Regardless of how long I’ve been watching movies or how long Film Bizarro has been around, it is always exhilarating to watch something truly unique. The short film, “Hallelujah! Gorilla Revival”, Keener and Ledbetter is rather intriguing due to it’s non-linear format, polarizing tones, and free-form filmmaking style.
Visually, it comes across as an exercise in conscious thought; a collection of disjointed and unintelligible imagery. Yet, there’s an underlying feeling of methodical storytelling — a narrative exists but it’s scrambled. As if you were trying to recall distant memories while being in a fever dream-like state. I’m tempted to call “Hallelujah! Gorilla Revival” surreal-Americana — it’s a short film that almost defies definition, but that seems to be a label that works in identifying the tonal elements at play.
I think it’s clear that Keener and Ledbetter had a story in mind and that exists, somewhere, in between the frames of “Hallelujah! Gorilla Revival” but they rather have a viewer pull their own meanings from it. It’s as if the short film is nothing more than a demonstration of the Kuleshov Effect. The imagery almost seems random but it manages to feel unsettling; there’s a sense of horror and dread with images of masked woman chained up in the woods or of a toy horse crawling with ants. But there’s also a level of humor as they draw parallels between the sounds of a woman taking a shower and the frying of bacon.
As Ronny said in his review of Damon Packard’s “Foxfur” (coincidentally, Damon provides a voice in this movie): it’s a movie that seems to be about everything and nothing at the same time. That’s kind of the best way to describe “Hallelujah! Gorilla Revival” as well.