Brooklyn Horror Film Festival: When I Consume You Is a Dark and Gritty Masterpiece

Since the inception of Yellow Veil Pictures in 2018 I have been following them closely, they stand neck and neck with the two other main arthouse production/distribution companies A24 and NEON. Some of my favorite films come from and have been distributed by Yellow Veil Pictures like StarfishI Trapped the Devil, and Larry Fessenden’s genre-defining Depraved. Yellow Veil Pictures has solidified it as the genre fan’s distribution company, and they continue to stay that way. When I read, moments after viewing, that they got all English-speaking sales rights to Perry Blackshear’s When I Consume You, my first thought was, “Yeah, that makes sense.” I could not be happier that Yellow Veil consistently goes to bat for such great pieces of art.

My only real qualm with When I Consume You is that I was not able to be at the Brooklyn Horror Film Festival in person to feel the response of the audience. Sitting in my pitch-black living room with surround sound on and full attention, I was left in awe as the credits rolled. I can only imagine the feeling of seeing such a film like this with a full crowd of genre fans.

A woman and her brother seek revenge against a mysterious stalker. (IMDb)

Wilson and Daphne are on the hunt for whatever may be stalking them

When I Consume You is a gritty and heartfelt tale of the human condition and doing right by the ones we love. What starts as, what seems like, a family drama, we are soon thrown into a deep dark psychological horror story that grips you by your heart and squeezes with all its might. I’m a huge fan of Blackshear’s work from They Look Like PeopleThe Siren, this film, and Bingo Hell (teleplay by). He seems to be an avid fan of making films that delve into the pits of the human condition, (sorry for reusing that phrase) and has slowly mastered it.

Blackshear’s directing in When I Consume You definitely feels like the culmination of what he learned from making The Siren and They Look Like People, as it feels like he has even more control now more than ever. He knows when to go close to the action, when to stay far, and what to selectively show, letting us create parts of the story in our own heads.

Part of Blackshear’s success could possibly be a part of the fact that he uses some of the same actors throughout his projects, mainly MacLeod Andrews (The Siren, They Look Like People), Evan Dumouchel (The Siren, They Look Like People), and Margaret Ying Drake (The SirenThey Look Like People). They all excel in their own way as actors, but there is something to be said when a director uses the same people for the majority of their oeuvre, especially a filmmaker such as Perry Blackshear.

Wilson (Evan Dumouchel) and Daphne Shaw (Libby Ewing), brother and sister, have very interesting chemistry, that at points almost feels like a “will they or won’t they?”…before we are privy to some flashbacks that show why they care as deeply about each other as they do. It’s a very sweet relationship, after getting the majority of the story; Ewing and Dumouchel really play well off of each other and just kill it. MacLeod Andrews does a wonderful job as David Castille, going from friend to foe at the drop of a hat. That man can act with his eyes alone and it’s supremely impressive.

Wilson and Daphne continue their hunt for the crazed stalker

Back to Blackshear’s directing, it’s important to note he is also the cinematographer, as he is for his other projects. While it’s obviously not necessary for directors to be the cinematographer, I think it helps quite a bit, especially when you’re dealing with someone like Blackshear who has such precision over what he wants the final product to be. He brilliantly controls every facet of this film (and his others), which really sets him apart from the majority of other genre filmmakers. There are some really specific moments of his direction that really blew me away, with one being when Wilson is chasing down the person he thinks harmed his sister, there is the most controlled shaky cam I have ever seen in a film. It doesn’t feel like he was holding the camera and shaking it willy nilly, it felt as if every single second of that shot was planned to the angle, and was very impressive.

On a random note, there is a Rocky-esque montage in the middle of the film where he downs multiple glasses of raw eggs, and it made for a nice lighthearted moment before getting back into the swing of everything.

The majority of When I Consume You falls under the psychological horror subgenre, and it does a fantastic job of really getting deep in your brain and hurting you in some deep ways. We learn what is happening to Wilson at the same time he does, and it hurts. This movie left me feeling broken and empty for a solid half an hour, which is something a film hasn’t done to me in quite some time—I hope that sounds like a compliment because it is. As I stated earlier, Yellow Veil scored with their acquirement of this film.

If you have the opportunity to see this film with a group of people I definitely say that it is a must, but if not, just see it in general. It’s such an emotional roller coaster, it feels real and raw, and it is just a creepy movie! Perry Blackshear has continued to show us how excellent of a genre filmmaker he is, and I am sure he will continue to do so with whatever his next venture is.

The poster for Perry Blackshear's When I Consume You with Wilson and Daphne front and center

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Written by Brendan Jesus

I am an award-winning horror screenwriter, rotting away in New Jersey.

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