FEVER NIGHT aka BAND OF SATANIC OUTSIDERS
- Director: Jordan Harris, Andrew Schrader
- Written by: Andrew Schrader, Jordan Harris
- Running Time: 85 minutes
- Language: English
- MPAA Rating:
- Cast: Peter Tullio, Philip Marlatt, Michael Q. Schmidt, Vanity Meers, Claudia Sandin
I've heard people say, as I'm sure you have too, the expression that goes something like this, "Man that movie really blew my mind." They are usually trying to express the fact that they found the movie very exciting and unusual. In other words 'Wow!"
Fever Night puts an entire new dimension to that expression.
Now so you know, I'm no stranger to 'minding blowing'. In my younger wilder days, I ingested quite a variety of mind altering substances, both natural and chemical. And what I am here to tell you is, if a movie ever came close to being a mind altering experience it is Fever Night. After watching it, my mind was blown.
I can't say I wasn't warned either. The blurb at the beginning mentioned that I would be subjected to subliminal messages and mild hypnosis. From the subtlety distorting backgrounds to outright extreme psychedelic sequences, I was never quite sure whether what I was watching was intended to be real or not. This is very disorienting perspective, especially to viewers who are accustomed to your typical plot and character driven movies.
I can see where a reviewer might have some problem trying to come up with a synopsis of this movie. I know I did. The basic jist of it is that a group of three people head out into the woods to have a Satanic party and do a ritual to summon the Devil. Afterwards when they set out for home, they find their car stuck in the mud. During their efforts to free it, one of them is accidentally run over. The other two see a light through the woods and make an attempt to get help. Pretty much after that, any description of a plot would be solely open to the reviewers interpretation. That is where some people may have a bit of a problem with this movie. Many people want their plots to tie up all nice and neat with explanations for everything all spoon fed to them. But if you are like this, this doesn't necessarily mean you won't like this. Myself, this is one of the things I liked most about this movie, but Jaime, who likes his explanations, also liked this movie. It's because there is so much else to like about this movie.
The most striking thing about this movie though is the aesthetics of it. It's just good to look at. The lighting and shots are just phenomenal. And this is especially impressive after having read on the IMDb about how the filmmakers had to shoot out in the woods with banks of battery powered LED flashlights. These guys were clearly innovators and knew what they wanted and how to get it. There are some very unique and creepy visuals. The Deliverence-like scene is truly disturbing and the floating skull with the eyes actually gave me a nightmare.
There are also some very excellent psychedelic-like sequences that go well with the very cool soundtrack. The soundtrack features Thee Oh Sees and has a very cool lo-fi retro vibe to it. It fits perfectly with the characters and the psychedelic sequences.
What I think I liked best about this movie, besides the aesthetics, is that it is so open to interpretation. As I mentioned before, many people will NOT like this fact, but for me, this was the real grabber. I wish there were a lot more movies like this. The first time I watch this, all through it, I had the idea (as did Jaime apparently) that they were all somehow dead. The light they saw was the eternal reward and they were going through some sort of purgatory to reach it and damnation was the price of failure and the most likely prospect for them (they were performing Satanic Rituals after all). But then I immediately watched it again and this time I picked up on some other things and changed my interpretations of some things and came up with a wholly different idea. I asked myself, 'why were they out there summoning Satan in the first place?' Sure it seemed likely they wanted the kicks, but was there something else. Don't most people summoning the Devil want something, power, a wish, etc. It seemed that Terry was the instigator of the idea. Did she some ulterior motive? I was thinking maybe the ritual worked and they did summon the Devil for her benefit because of the failed relationship between her and Elliot, but she had not intended to get run over (maybe it was the Devil's price). And then I watched it again and thought maybe, they were out there doing the ritual for kicks and by running Terry over, that was the 'human sacrifice' that really finished the ritual set the real Devil on them. Terry was dead but possessed and the campers were demons. Wasn't the board she used to unstuck the car, the same one they found when they were getting the stuff for the ritual? I could go on and on for pages on all the ideas and scenarios I've come up with watching this movie ten plus times, but I'll leave some for your imaginations. This movie is like a mystery to be solved with lots of clues but no definite answer (or maybe there is, some revelations from the filmmakers themselves at least explained the penis at the end).
The other grabber about this movie for me was the surreal sense of atmosphere. Maybe it's just me and the nightmares I have, but this movie really hit the nail on the head for catching that nightmare-like sense of dread. There are not many movies I can think of that can really capture a feeling of atmosphere like this one did. The sense of dream logic is so prevalent. Character's do things that you just know will turn out bad, and you can see that they know it but they do it anyway, just like in a dream. They experience something scary or disturbing, but then seem to be doing things a few minutes later as if it was nothing. It really throws the viewer for a loop. Did what we just see really happen? It a very disorienting feeling which magnifies the creepy atmosphere.
As of this writing, there is no wide DVD release of this film yet, but keep your eyes open for it. Sooner or later somebody cool with any sense will see it and want to distribute it. I can see where most of the profit oriented distributors might be afraid of something as radically different and unique as this movie and it will have some problems getting out there. For now you can check the website: www.satanfever.com for updates and upcoming showings and you can email the filmmakers for a password and watch it streaming online from the website.
Check out the FILMS UNKNOWN CULT & KOOL Webisode:
See this movie and blow your mind!