Whoa man. Whoa. Okay, to start with, we have a couple heading out to a cabin in the woods (you’ve never heard this premise before, right?), to film a nature documentary - which of course means this movie is found footage. What it’s about is totally unclear. I think they’re just kind of going to film anything they think looks interesting and figure out what to do with it later. But as they’re filming stuff, they stumble across these creepy weird totems made of sticks and animal bones and mason jars all strung up together, and eventually encounter the creepy-looking guy who made them. For some reason, after stumbling across his house, they decide to sneak inside and check it out (it’s full of more totems, pretty much), and barely escape without getting caught by him as he comes home. They realize that he is the pop-culture icon “Mr. Jones”. That’s a guy who mails these totem things to random people.
So the man goes home, leaving the woman there to continue checking out the totems. He films a bunch of documentary interviews with various people about the Mr. Jones phenomenon, and that’s how we get the backstory. Mr. Jones is a weird guy, and some people believe he protects our world from the dream world with his totems. Some weird stuff like that. The man goes back, he and the woman invade Mr. Jones’ personal space some more, and then everything gets insanely weird. The end.
The last half-hour or so of this movie is entirely trippy. You have no idea what’s really happening, because it’s all basically a dream. One really interesting part is that the found-footage format sort of breaks down. You get shots the characters can’t possibly be filming, but it’s still hand-held - it turns out its being filmed by other copies of the man, who end up chasing them around (hey, it’s a dream). It’s very weird, like I said. What actually happens during this part doesn’t really add up, but it’s not really supposed to because it’s a dream. It goes on for too long, as a result - since none of it really makes sense, it’s really just giving you a style, not any substance, so you really only need a taste of it to get the idea: it’s a weird dream, anything can happen. It does wrap up in a way that works out relatively well, and has a twist to it. At least, if I understood it properly it does.
The characters are kind of annoying as usual, and make weird choices. There’s a lot of times they don’t seem to be anywhere near concerned enough about what’s happening, but that may be something of a dream thing. It’s hard to say. There are also a couple other obnoxious things in this movie. One is many many minutes of the man running through tunnels underground. It’s just rock walls and darkness, totally pointless to watch. Another is at the beginning of the movie, there are several minutes of just voice-over questions... “What if you went into the woods to film a documentary? What if you saw things that were really beautiful? How about if it was windy out? Would your relationship withstand all this hanging out?” It just goes on and on. I imagine there’s some artistic point to it, but it is so annoying. That entire sequence could be cut from the film without losing a single thing.
But in the end, I enjoyed the sum total of it. Not a ton, but I was caught up in the concept, and the way it came together was good. There was a lot of fluff to sit through, but it all felt like something powerful was lurking underneath. It leaves a lot of questions, but it resolved enough of it for me anyway.
3/5 Mason Jars.
My Movie Idea:
Dreams. That’s a thing for movies, for sure. But it’s also something you really have to be careful with or you are making something dumb. There’s “it was all a dream, phew!” which is a total cop-out. There’s “I thought I woke up, but it was just another dream! (and another, and another...)” which is another cop-out. There’s “anything can happen because it’s a dream” which isn’t really a cop-out, it just leads to pointlessness. Who cares what happens if anything can happen?
There’s a scene in Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, where Ramona off-handedly mentions that she takes a shortcut through Scott’s dreams to deliver packages, which is why he sees her in his dreams. That is an amazing concept, just throwing dreams and reality together like that - why not just take a shortcut through a dream? So I think my movie idea relies on this.
It’s about somebody going into dreams, not to do something to the dreaming person, but just because the dream is a way to get somewhere else. Perhaps there is an ultimate-security room. There is no way to get into this room at all, except to use some kind of funky technology that powers this door that goes into a dream of someone sleeping in an adjacent room, and you have to get them to dream about a door, which you open to enter the room. Obviously, whatever is in there is really really valuable. Also here are a few exciting moments in this movie: when the person going through the dream ends up damaging the psychological state of the dreaming person, when somebody ends up trapped in the room because the dreamer wakes up, when somebody ends up trapped in the dream itself when the door gets shut and the dreamer isn’t dreaming of a door, the dramatic countdown regarding the fact that if the person wakes up when you are in the dream, you cease to exist completely.
Other than that, I don’t know what happens in the movie, but it seems like it could be an interesting Charlie Kaufman kind of crazy thing, where nothing in the movie makes any sense in reality, but it’s all a metaphor for some other stuff. Too smart for me to actually write!