Fantasia Fest Film Review: LOVE ETERNAL!!
If MAY and BRICK had a baby, it would resemble something like LOVE ETERNAL. Based on the Japanese novel In Love with the Dead, Irish director, Brendan Muldowney’s LOVE ETERNAL is an incredibly morbid, yet fascinatingly beautiful look at a young man’s obsession with death and dying. Starring Robert de Hoog (SKINS) as Ian, we are given a glimpse into the damaged psyche of a man who has lived a life completely surrounded by death and destruction to the point where it becomes something of love.
After witnessing his father die as a child, discovering a female classmate hanging from a noose, and spending a large amount of free time on suicide forums, Ian seems to have it all planned out. He keeps himself locked away in his room, unwilling to do much of anything. Soon enough, his mother joins the ranks of his dead comrades and her actions seem to be the last straw. Ian makes the decision to kill himself but as he organizes the preparation to drain the exhaust from his car into his lungs, he witnesses a group of teenagers do the exact same thing. Rather than follow through with his actions, Ian instead grabs hold of a deceased young woman named Anna (Xena Katina) and keeps her as his friend. Once her body finally turns itself over to the earth, he buries her in the garden and searches the Internet for those wanting to commit suicide.
While most horror films would immediately lean towards the sexual route of necrophilia, Ian is not sexually aroused by corpses, but rather finds solace and understanding with the deceased. To him, the dead are the closest companions he has in this world, and he loves them for what they are. It’s only when Ian meets a woman named Naomi (brilliantly played by Pollyanna McIntosh of THE WOMAN) that things begin to change for Ian and his perspective on life and death begin to change.
Muldowney made a breathtaking film. Aesthetically, it’s a visually stunning film utilizing the beauty of nature and the mind’s interpretation of life. In addition to the beautiful camera work, Bart Westerlaken’s score is ambient and fitting at every single moment.
LOVE ETERNAL might be a bit too “arthouse-esque” for the average horror fan, but film lovers and fans of darkly off-beat love stories may find this to be a perfect fit.