A new psychosexual thriller fashioned after Italian horror films. INVALID is the story of a woman (Agnes played by Joni Durian) who is tasked with caring for her vegetative brother (Andrew played by Brandon Salkil). Things get strange when Agnes begins to hear her brother’s voice in her head, and he demands blood. It’s Maniac meets Psycho meets Patrick with camera work and lighting inspired by the Italian greats like Bava, Fulci, and Argento. Sleaze, art, and emotion collide in INVALID.
What We Thought:
I had actually watched and reviewed Skinless (originally the Ballad Of Skinless Pete) by Dustin Mills a few years back. As I had enjoyed that one, I was eager to see his newest offering, Invalid.
After a little bit of a slow start, where the basic premise of the movie is set up, Invalid really gets moving. We find out that Andrew can communicate with Agnes by using his mind and he tells her he needs blood to get strong again. We then see her first murder and the effect it has on Andrew, allowing him to move a finger. Invalid keeps going strong and seems to go even quicker from there yet the movie still takes its time to tell us the story. We get pieces of the bigger picture, little bits at a time, until it all comes together for Agnes. Even then at the end, I was left wondering exactly how much was real and how much was in Agnes’ head.
Invalid was well shot and used lots of interesting camera techniques, many of which were reminiscent of the old great Italian Giallo films, as promised. The actual quality of the footage looks improved in comparison to when I watched his other film Skinless. One segment I really liked was the first time Agnes and Andrew are communicating, the whole sequence is animated like a simple cartoon. I found that especially neat.
The acting was pretty decent. Joni Durian, who plays Agnes does a pretty good job at playing the character and seeing the role through all her different stages in the film. Brandon Salkil, whom I am familiar with from his role in Skinless, is Andrew, and he does a great job at staying still throughout the movie. His voiceovers were really good. I think he was better in this than he was in Skinless.
The effects in this movie were pretty good, and gory, especially the shots of the knife going into the bodies. Special effects on a budget seem to be one of the things Dustin Mills does especially well. The only exception were some stab wounds on eyes that looked to be done via computer and it seemed like the camera just lingered a little too long on them. If the shot was quicker, it might have been less noticeable.
You can tell this production had a low budget and I don’t mean that in a bad way. It is quite impressive what Dustin Mills can do with a low budget. He also seems to be very good at utilizing minimal locations. I also wonder how he manages to get so much of his cast to go nude in his movies.
I definitely recommend this film. It is an enjoyable watch and does a lot in its just over 70 minute run time. In fact, based off of Skinless and Invalid, I would recommend the works of Dustin Mills in general and I definitely think he is someone to keep an eye on.
Recommended If You Like:
- 70’s Giallo films
- Low-Budget Horror
- Underground Horror