Dir; Erick Castillo. Starring; Clint Obenchain, Andrea Saliaz, Brett Becker, Grace Ritchie. 2017. Unrated. Color. 30 min.
Pareidolia ( parr-i-DOH-lee-ə) is a psychological phenomenon in which the mind responds to a stimulus, usually an image or a sound, by perceiving a familiar pattern where none exists (e.g., in random data). Common examples are perceived images of animals, faces, or objects in cloud formations, the man in the moon, the moon rabbit, hidden messages within recorded music played in reverse or at higher- or lower-than-normal speeds, and hearing indistinct voices in random noise such as that produced by air conditioners or fans.
On the surface, “Pareidolia” is about a man haunted by the random images he sees in everyday objects, such as a tree, a cloud, or a rock. It’s a psychological condition know as Pareidolia. The film opens with our main character in his therapists office, trying to make sense of his “condition”. By the time we reach the stories end, we have experienced the loss, pain, regret, and insanity that this man is coping with. In the world of low budget independent filmmaking, director Erick Castillo has made a short film with genuine heart and humanity.
Our main character is Milo (Clint Obenchain), a lost soul. Obenchain uses his face, his eyes, to bring sadness and confusion to the character. He is seeing a therapist, Dr. Walter Voss (Brett Becker), because Milo has a huge gap in his memory due to some tragic event. Milo wanders, staring at mailboxes, or rocks, constantly seeing things that aren’t really there. Random people seem to know him, but he doesn’t recognize their faces. Milo hides for hours underneath a blanket in this strange house he is somehow drawn to. A woman wearing a neck brace named Sam (a terrific Andrea Saliaz), seems to be following Milo as he wanders the city. Milo is running, and we don’t know why. I won’t reveal anymore, as this story is better to experience for yourself.
“Pareidolia” is a movie that invites you into Milo’s struggle at a very personal level. When we reach the end we see how every character and every scene are connected. Erick Castillo, serving as director and DP, is not afraid to construct a frame. The camera moves only when it needs to. There’s high angle drone shots, steadicam work, dolly movements, but not once do these elaborate camera movements distract the viewer from the story. The score by Daniel Carlton is another standout, setting the perfect pace to mirror Milo’s internal struggle. We’re always aware of the music, but it never overwhelms the audience.
Like any micro-budget film, “Pareidolia” has it’s indie movie issues. A few jarring edits, a shot that’s not quite in focus here and there, sound buzzes. But this stuff is all cosmetic. Castillo uses his resources brilliantly and tells a story thats honest to its character. A movie with a heavy heart, “Pareidolia” is a must watch for anyone who has experienced loss, and one of the best indie films of the year.
Suck Factor: 1 out of 7 (7 means your movie really SUCKS!)
Written by Byrd
“Pareidolia” will be available for streaming online later this year. Check back here at byrdmeetsgirl.com for more details!
*The Suck Factor! – How it Works
I’ve flipped the switch on the standard rating system for film criticism. Instead of rating a movie with stars or letters representing how good a film is, I rank films from 0 to 7 to tell you how much a movie SUCKS! So if the film is a masterpiece, like “The Godfather” for example, then it gets a 0 on my scale, meaning the movie gives 0 SUCKS! If the movie is absolutely terrible, for instance every Michael Bay film, it scores a 7 so you know to avoid it at all costs.
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