Okey, let’s get weird again. This one is going to be a little off the rails and perhaps rightly so. We’re just going into a contest it seems, some sort of sweepstakes where the winner gets personal transcendence or a car. Something along those lines. The tests are simple. Until they’re not. There are only winners and losers. Actually, we’re not sure of either but there’s going to be a body count. Welcome to the WTF genre.
Stanleyville (2021) is directed by Maxwell McCabe-Lokos. Maria Barbizan (Susanne Wuest) has just walked away from her life. Whatever she was expecting for the world to throw at her it was not Homunculus (Julian Richings) letting her know she’s been selected to take part in a contest for a brand new car – and, you know, personal transcendence. She’s intrigued, she’s interested and she’s joining. She’ll now compete against a group of slightly odd strangers: Manny Jumpcannon (Adam Brown), Felicie Arkady (Cara Ricketts), Andrew Frisbee, Jr. (Christian Serritiello) and Bofill Pancreas (George Tchortov). Unable to leave their location or they will forfeit, they need to past eight trials.
This one is a mystery wrapped up in a riddle with aluminum foil. Whatever you think these characters’ personal motivations are, their actions say another. Entitlement, delusion, deception, naiveness and lunacy might as well have taken human shape in each of these contestants. Not that the contest seems to make any more sense, it feels as everything has been set up haphazardly and yet everything is in motion. If you’re thinking I’m not doing a good job explaining what’s going on, then you have a perfect idea of what the film is doing.
It’s not complete confusion, but you do realize that everyone has their agenda – except perhaps Mary herself. She’s really interested in finding out her own self. On the other hand, the rest of the group immediately squares off the trusting victims from the more predatory aggressive personalities. You have no idea what’s really going on, but you’re definitely onboard just to see how it all turns out in the end.
Highly recommended with reservations. Yes, this is one of WTF genre features that plays around with what is being presented, but rather than trying to make sense or guessing subjective metaphors, I think the movie works better just at face value. Don’t expect a magic solution, or a social experiment or aliens. This one is just off the deep end but somehow comes full circle by the end of it. Worth a watch if you’re fond of WTF movies.
That will do for now.