The hoary setup of innumerable scarefests is granted a decidedly Lynchian spin as everyday normality goes grotesque.

In Graham Reznick’s low-budget debut chiller, “I Can See You,” produced under the aegis of fright maven Larry Fessenden, horror is purely in the eye of the beholder — in this case, a myopic artist-cum-advertising photographer with father issues. A bunch of city-slicker friends camping out in the woods, the hoary setup of innumerable scarefests, is granted a decidedly Lynchian spin as everyday normality goes grotesque. Atmospheric audio fills each leaf and branch with nameless menace, while superimpositions and slow dissolves trace a psychological slide toward disintegration. Critically lauded pic, which bowed April 29 in Gotham, could build a cult following.

Launching their new advertising agency via environmentally toxic cleaning product Claractix, three young New Yorkers (Ben Dickinson, Duncan Skiles, Christopher D. Ford) venture into nature to capture images of purity. But the televised ghost of Claractix’s long-lost 1950s spokesperson (played with eerily cheery insistence by Fessenden) haunts the film, morphing into disturbing images of more familiar demons. Reznick’s sound design effectively jangles nerves, and two setpieces trumpet his visual prowess: a languid lovemaking scene lit by indirect flashlight and a tour-de-force musical number that grows increasingly horrific.

I Can See You

Production

A Cinema Purgatorio release of an Aphasia Films/Glass Eye Pix/Scareflix production. Produced by Peter Phok. Executive producer, Larry Fessenden. Directed, written, edited by Graham Reznick.

Crew

Camera (color, HD), Gordon Arkenberg; music, Jeff Grace. Reviewed at Cinema Purgatorio, New York, May 3, 2009. Running time: 97 MIN.

With

Ben Dickinson, Duncan Skiles, Christopher D. Ford, Heather Robb, Olivia Villanti, Larry Fessenden.
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