When I saw the synopsis for this movie had the words “glittering nightmare about the dark side of the music industry” I was immediately intrigued. A part of me wondered whether it was a simple reference to decadent and perhaps hedonistic use of drugs and alcohol that is commonly associated with not just the music industry but the entertainment industry as a whole. Another more serious thought came to mind: perhaps this is an exploration of an actual dark side to the music industry relating to crimes like sexual abuse. It’s a dark thought but in the wake of the #MeToo movement and many a brave soul coming out with their stories of abuse it’s not too absurd to suspect. Looking at the spelling for In2ruders made me think that perhaps I’d put in too much thought into a movie that uses a number to replace a letter as if it’s 2005 again.
In2ruders is the story revolving around the story of one half of a sister duo band of some band played by Bloom Twins. One sister has signed up with the label NWR run by Ravana Serpentine (played by Caprice), the other is far more resistant. That’s about as far as could be described. This horror movie goes down a more surreal and “edgy” route with some rather gory and frankly needlessly gratuitous imagery. In2ruders comes across as a really badly done episode of Black Mirror that totally misses the entire point of effective use of dark imagery to make a point. For a while it seems like the film could be making a point about crony capitalism and the way it unfairly crushes the people it claims to serve but it didn’t take long for that point to disappear into thin air. It disappears just as one of the more horrifying, unnecessarily prolonged violent scenes plays out. Close to the start of the film a gentleman of colour is whipped “into line” by a group of white people which is already somewhat problematic. The more graphic scene happens towards the middle when the unsigned sister is subjected to sexual violence at the hands of a group of men with a random crooner singing nearby. It’s understandable that NWR commits evil but this kind of scene was difficult to watch. There seemed to be no point other than to over emphasise the evil. Sexual assault is used way too liberally by inept filmmakers that use it either for gratuitous dramatic effect or as a joke. Either approach causes the event itself to be minimised to a mere prop. This lands at the expense of countless folks who have survived sexual violence. Unjustified use of rape imagery in In2ruders does just that.
The filmmaking in In2ruders has glimmers of ambition and some talent but unfortunately sloppy execution. Some of the cinematography is fascinating to look at with some great framing but then within seconds the film cuts to a tilting take that pans in a fashion that is downright bizarre. A lot of the scenes seem to be awash in a near overflow of red lighting that matches the ever present dark surroundings and the near exclusively red and black costumes. The entire film seems to be strung together in editing that appears to have been done by a first year film student whose playing with Final Cut Pro for the first time.
With all of these criticisms levelled at In2ruders does this mean it is a film that is so bad it’s good or is it just plain bad? Unfortunately it’s just plain bad. Short films can be tough to compress a story into but it’s not impossible. A quick browse through the work of Luis Bunuel, Jan Svankmajer and early Wallace and Gromit films to name a few examples of great shorts. In2ruders may well have worked better in feature length form so the ideas presented could’ve been fleshed out better. Perhaps no length of time could save In2ruders.
In2ruders is launching September 5th.