It’s easy to fall into the trap of lauding a film like I Can See You because it’s something you’ve never seen before. As a reviewer, it’s important to remember that this isn’t a criterion that’s important to a lot of casual horror fans, especially if many things you might have never seen before can still fall into the category of crap.
That being said, if you really want to see something you’ve never seen before, the polarizing I Can See You, the brainchild of Graham Reznick (Aphasia Films), is well worth a look.
This is Art House with a capital A. The first third is an exercise in artifice-filled frustration, with endless swirling cigarette smoke and quiet contemplation. You’d be forgiven for bailing.
Then something happens.
A Brooklyn boutique ad agency is scrambling to develop a campaign for one of those household cleaning products you might see hawked on QVC. Frustrated by the crappy public domain images of The Great Outdoors and looking to tie their wagon to the green consumer movement, the boss organizes a camping trip to get the creative juices flowing and to take some photos for their Claractix campaign.
The photographer is Ben, a mustachioed myopic artist who’s nearly blind without his specs, a hugely ironic character on whom a successful ad campaign about a glass-cleaning solvent depends.
In the woods over a blazing campfire and beers, he spies an old childhood friend at a neighboring campsite, a hippie blonde named Sunny Day, and boss Doug urges him to put the moves on her when metaphorical sparks fly.
When the twosome hit it off and disappear into the brush to get hot and heavy, I Can See You hops aboard the Weird Train.
The warmth and protean flickering of the fire is a frequent backdrop for the woody weirdness here. There are disorienting shots of the middle of the forest in which a phantasmagorical product pitchman in an ill-fitting suit appears. (He also materializes in a dream sequence, seemingly straight from the mind of David Lynch.)
The “psychedelic campfire tale,” has much more in common with say, Picnic at Hanging Rock than Don’t Go in the Woods and will reward the patient viewer.
Odd, baffling and at times frustrating, Fangoria called it “one of the most intriguing and well-crafted horrors in recent memory.” See for yourself.
*** (out of 5)