Earlier this week, I was contacted by a filmmaker named József Gallai regarding a screener of his new film – The Surreal Project. I recognised his name, and I was right to, as we have covered two of his projects here before (Moth, and A Guidebook to Killing Your Ex).
This movie, like his previous projects, is filmed and based in Gallai’s native Hungary on an estimated $7000 budget, so it’s pretty much a complete indie effort.
Let’s take a closer look at how it pans out…
After inheriting an ominous painting, a family soon becomes disturbed by a demonic presence known as The Whispering Man.
The first thing that struck me about The Surreal Project was the high level of cinematography of the overall project – most independent releases in this genre get nowhere near the crisp and well thought out scenes/angles here.
It’s never really grainy, and each camera position is well thought out, and well rendered.
I was also quite pleased to find out that the film’s journey was not going to drag me through a dark forest, or a insane asylum. Writer Bálint Szántó has put together a quite fresh and unique plot that will manage to grab the interest of the most tired and frustrated Found Footage fans (yes, we’re all pretty frustrated these days!).
And The Bad…
Okay, before I go on with this section of the review, I should point out that this is a Hungarian movie that is filmed in English. A lot of watchers in the western world will be grateful for this (some lazy bastards hate reading subtitles), but this choice does come with a few problems…many of which create a negative side to the film.
The main problem we have here is actors having to act with a language that is not native to them. Sometimes they get away with this – unfortunately the surrounding cast in this movie don’t manage to pull it off. I say ‘surrounding cast’ because the lead actor, Dávid Fecske, gives a good performance…but many of the surrounding cast struggle with their delivery.
I’m not having a go here – I can’t speak Hungarian at the end of the day, so they’re all already ahead of me!
It’s just that in this case, the delivery and realism of some of the scenes is left out in the cold, due to the language being a tight bit of a struggle. At the end of the day – if you are thinking about a secondary language as you are acting…it’s never going to be your best performance.
Okay, so as you can see – there are good and bad sides to this movie, but it is important to realise that it’s a low budget independent offering (and it’s actually a lot better than some of the shit I’ve had to sit through recently!).
It offers a unique new plot and at the very least – it’s trying something original.
I always find it hard to point out the negative areas in these types of film, but if I lied to cover up the cracks – the tens of thousands of monthly visitors I get to this site will see through it instantly.
Did I enjoy the film?
Yes, somewhat, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that it would have been a lot better in it’s native language with subtitles (after all – subtitles didn’t do REC any harm, did they?).
P.S. I have no idea why József Gallai’s Bodom is not up on this site – I’ll get on it this week and include it asap!