The world of film is changing. Advances in technology have seen the traditional methods of production and distribution shattered. The digital age means that it is now cheaper than ever to produce a film, and to gain attention through the internet and social media. This means that smaller, more esoteric films can find their way in the big bad world of cinema. One film to do just this is director Craig Griffith’s Through The Looking Glass.
Made for just £6,000, Through The Looking Glass illustrates that you don’t need to break the bank in order to produce an interesting feature. A compelling story will suffice. Here, the story sees an artist, (known simply as The Artist, played by Paul McCarthy) who is hit by a sudden lack of creativity. This coincides with the arrival his friend (known as The Friend, played by Jonathan Rhodes), who has retreated to The Artist’s crumbling mansion to write a book. Things take a mysterious turn, when a mirror owned by The Artist appears to affect his mind – is it a portal into some unknown parallel world or is it something more psychological?
Through The Looking Glass is a slow-burning psychological horror film, which has touches of Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Both feature a protagonist in a singular location unable to produce work, which causes their sanity to unravel. There’s also a touch of Clive Barker‘s Hellraiser about the film (something that struck me from when I first saw the trailer), and again, it’s this slow burn which helps to build atmosphere. Griffith’s film doesn’t quite break out like those works in the last act – his limited budget wouldn’t allow that. However, he does keep it real, treading the fine line between fantasy and reality, in essence making the final conclusion feel like something you might read in your local newspaper.
Through The Looking Glass isn’t perfect. One or two of the performances hit the occasional bum note, and the film could have used a scene or two at the beginning to help set up the outside world of The Artist and The Friend. These are small qualms, as Griffith has delivered a modern gothic tale, which offers more than cheap shocks and gore.
Through The Looking Glass is a brave film, as many low-budget filmmakers would rather try and make ‘found footage’ movies in an attempt to ride the wave of the current horror trend. Griffith takes a stand and offers his audience something challenging, putting his money where his mouth is – making and distributing the film on his own terms.
Craig Griffith’s Through The Looking Glass is a thought provoking psychological horror-thriller, which shows that money is no substitute for a captivating story.
Through The Looking Glass will be available on DVD from October 31st.