FANTASIA FEST 2021: ‘When I Consume You’ Serves up a Demonic Twist

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When I Consume You - But Why Tho

Writer/Director Perry Blackshear delivers a unique twist on the demonic horror front in When I Consume You. A brother and sister look to exact revenge on a mysterious stalker who has been tormenting them for years, but it’s going to take more than just strength training to take this entity down. Part of what makes When I Consume You work so well is how different it is, and while it does start to lose steam toward the end, Perry Blackshear finds a way to stick the landing memorably.

The two siblings, Wilson (Evan Dumouchel) and Daphne (Libby Ewing), are very close, and you get the feeling they had to raise each other through most of life. Daphne has battled alcoholism and drugs while Wilson has struggled to find his footing and purpose in life. The two make for some excellent chemistry, and it’s a good thing it works early on because the entirety of the film’s success lies heavily on their shoulders. When I Consume You refreshingly deals with demonic possession, turning the tables on the genre and using it as a weapon for our protagonists.

If you read the film’s synopsis and its careful and vague wording, it is unclear for a reason, and I won’t spoil why that is. It is best to venture into this film without a clue. Still, I will say that I found it quite enjoyable and exhilarating seeing our characters in training montages to weaponize their inner demon. It sounds ridiculous, but in this gritty and grounded world, it feels disturbingly realistic. And yes, there is a training montage, and Wilson consumes many raw eggs in it on screen. I wonder if Evan Dumouchel had to commit to the role and swallow all those eggs on cue? Usually, in demonic possession films, our unlucky heroes are victimized by a sniveling demon or have to face them. In When I Consume You, our heroes shed their inner child and embrace the demon inside them. The more I attempt to describe it, the more insane it sounds, but trust in me, Perry Blackshear makes it work in spades.

The film is also very dark, visually speaking. Even the day scenes don’t have any real warmth; the sunlight feels unsafe and threatened, adding to the overall unease in the film. Perry Blackshear also uses many close-ups and keeps the viewers intimately close with our two siblings, a wise choice as they’re our only safe space in this dark world. For most of the film, you’re scratching your head as to what exactly is going on. Is it something supernatural? Is it just a weird stalker tormenting Wilson and Daphne? When I Consume You answers these questions deliberately, peppering the film with flashbacks and more flashbacks. There are a lot of flashbacks in here, almost jarringly so. The constant callbacks made the movie a bit hard to follow at times as it came off messy, but its intrigue all remains strong throughout.

When I Consume You clocks in at a brisk 92 minutes, but you feel the latter end lag a bit more than you should. The film begins to lose steam once we get to the hotly anticipated climax, an unfortunate thing really because the build-up was so fascinating. Perry Blackshear does manage to stick the landing, though, and gives us a bittersweet yet satisfying ending. There’s a lot to enjoy here: a surprising twist early on that promptly sets the table, a creepy adversary, and a moody atmosphere to boot. I love moody atmospheres, and this movie delivers it in bunches.

When I Consume You is premiering at the Fantasia International Film Festival.

When I Consume You
  • 8.5/10
    Rating - 8.5/10
8.5/10

TL;DR

There’s a lot to enjoy here: a surprising twist early on that promptly sets the table, a creepy adversary, and a moody atmosphere to boot. I love moody atmospheres, and this movie delivers it in bunches.