After using a strange living drug - a sort of poison, a musician trips out and finds himself lost in the wilderness. Now he has given himself over to the drug, and losing himself more and more in the process.
Where do you start with a movie that essentially is a long, psychedelic trip with neither foot on the ground at any time? Some movies take an approach to drug addiction where they show the ups and inevitable downs of using - basically, showing drugs from a third person angle, showing a realistic side to it. But then there are the drug movies that rather take the side of the drug and the trip. You know, when you think you've got a firm grip around the movie and then it just decides to give you the middlefinger and laugh hysterically. Except that with "Lowlife" you never have the firm grip to start with.
To keep it simple, as it's not a movie to follow in detail when it comes to plot, it's about a man's experience with becoming addicted to the poison from a starfish, and him giving himself over to the drug. The man, a musician, is now wandering a desolate forest, going mad looking through every puddle of mud he finds. But he also meets strange figures and is talked to through a dog that is constantly watching him. It's truly a movie that you have to experience, as being lost along with our character gives a very interesting perspective to the drug. True to the art form (and I mean the art form that is "art", not "film") it's one to add your own interpretation to.
Originally planned as a surrealist twist to a survivor man story, it has indeed became more about a drug than that. But the aspect of it is still there and that's one of my favorite things about the movie: the setting, a very natural and real wilderness not too unlike the one I have around me (here in Sweden) mixed with a psychedelic nightmare of strange creatures and mental breakdowns. It adds a nice flavour, and I can only imagine how interesting it would have been if they follow through a 100% with the survivalist idea.
"Lowlife" is a creepy movie because you have no idea where it's coming from. It's experimental and surreal in the oddest of places, and yet it makes sense within its own universe. I could probably pull out a few references of similar material, but fact is that I think "Lowlife" stands out even next to possible inspirations. It's a really well-crafted movie that manages to be equally terrifying, disgusting, confusing, humorous and highly inspirational to watch. If that's not a successful creation, then what is?
Yes, yes, it has a few flaws. Luckily it's not in creativity, execution or the in surprisingly good acting. The only one that I feel could potentially ruin future success would be the length. 99 min is not a long movie, but I still feel there are bits that could be trimmed. Or maybe I just would have wanted to spend more of the runtime in the woods rather than in the apartment? It could be that, or it actually does drag a bit. Yes, let's go with that one - while I enjoyed the movie a lot and can't help but recommend it to anyone with a nutty mind, the movie tends to feel a bit too long in certain areas. When this is the only complaint worthy of bringing up, it's still not a massive defect.
If you feel like you want to spice up your movie night, then "Lowlife" is sure to inject it with a healthy dose of psycho poison. It's a movie clearly inspired by the surreal, but it manages to stay fresh much due to its use of living organisms and nature. Don't miss it if you get the chance! Unless you're paranoid and own a dog.