If Panos Cosmatos’ debut had continued with the slow-paced, tripped-out psychedelia of the first hour or so I would probably have been fully on board with it, but the decision to devolve into an ‘80s slasher flick in the final act lost me.
The director is the son of George Pan Cosmatos (he of The Cassandra Crossing and Cobra, and in name alone of Tombstone, apparently) and it appears that his inspiration was what happened to the baby boomers in the ‘80s, his parents’ generation. That element translates effectively, expressed through the extreme of having a science institute engaging in Crowley/Jack Parsons/Leary occult quests for enlightenment in the ‘60s and the survivors having become burnt out refugees or psychotics by the ‘80s. Depending upon your sensibilities, the torturously slow pace and the synth soundtrack are positives, while the cinematography managed to evoke both lurid early ‘80s cinema and ‘60s experimental fare.
Ultimately the film takes a narrative path that can be justified thematically (psychedelic warrior pushing back the doors of perception reduced to Michael Myers; and what was the custom-made leather suit about? I wondered exactly the same as his wife, “Where did you get that outfit?”) but feels cheap and obvious after the ideas and visuals being knocked about previously. Other elements are highly imaginative and/or unnerving; the ‘60s flashback, Elena’s encounter with the bound, slavering zombie, the nurse leafing through Nyle’s notebook. I certainly want to see what Cosmatos comes up with next.