If David Lynch, Lewis Carroll, and Nicolas Winding Refn all got together to take a little trip with the help of LSD, the end result might be the avant-garde fantasy horror film “The Blazing World.” This experimental, psychological, and hyper-stylized film sends out warning flares that it’s the work of a mostly inexperienced filmmaker (Carlson Young), but her ambitious vision is one that could grow into something really special.
Margaret (Young) has been haunted by a childhood memory of watching her identical twin sister drown in the backyard pool while her unhappy parents (Vinessa Shaw, Dermot Mulroney) were fighting inside the house. She has never recovered from the trauma or the guilt of that day and as an adult, becomes obsessed with studying and exploring otherworldly ideas like multiple planes of existence that may imprison humans in a world between life and death. Ready to commit suicide, Margaret finds her way down the rabbit hole and embarks on a nightmarish journey into the heart of her psyche, where she confronts the demons from her past.
This is a work for the hardcore art house crowd. It’s more about seeing and feeling, not disciplined interpretation. Don’t try to make sense of most of the story. In other words, just sit back and go with it.
It’s a bizarre film, but Young’s directorial style instantly hooked me. I especially admire her fearlessness when it comes to expressing a personal, creative vision. The film is a dreamscape of the macabre that is ambitious in its abstract conveyance of ideas. “The Blazing World,” in all of its darkly beautiful glory, is a challenging experimental work that could easily find a home in a modern art museum.