Had Ryan Prows’ Lowlife been released 20 years ago, it could’ve gotten lost in the collection of late-’90s, post-Pulp Fiction Tarantino derivations. In 2018, the energetic, violent film feels fresh and timely, despite the observable influences. It combines exploitation cinema with themes of exploitation, specifically that of immigrants and the downtrodden by the brazen and depraved, along with a blood-soaked stew of revenge and redemption. Lowlife is a wild, entertaining ride, lo-fi warts and all
Transitions during the formative teenage years can be hell to get through. Changing bodies, raging hormones, a desire for acceptance, and seemingly unsympathetic power structures make for a volatile, anxiety-inducing mixture.
The instability and alienation also provide fertile grounds for thematic exploration that marries coming-of-age distress with the horror genre. Blue My Mind, the striking debut feature from Swiss writer/director Lisa Brühlmann, does this with great effect. To varying degrees, it tackles material covered in films like Carrie, Ginger Snaps, and last year’s Raw, but stands out thanks to a deliberate pace, arresting cinematography, and Brühlmann’s keen vision that blends the real and relatable with the fantastic.