Review: ‘The Oregonian’

Calvin Lee Reeder's "The Oregonian" is to early 1970s U.S. indie horror what recent "Amer" was to vintage Italian giallos.

Calvin Lee Reeder’s “The Oregonian” is to early 1970s U.S. indie horror what recent “Amer” was to vintage Italian giallos: an attempt to wring art from trash through retro-styled atmosphere alone. That can be striking in miniature, but over a feature-length haul it begins to matter that the plot is going nowhere — or worse, that there is no plot. Labyrinthine pic, whose heroine flees vague terrors in an underpopulated rural area, whips up a few fever pitches of alarmed sound and image. But even the staunchest art-horror fans are likely to find the whole wearying. Minor DVD/download exposure is signaled.

Titular young woman (“True Blood’s” Lindsay Pulsipher) wakes at the site of an apparent car accident covered in blood and suffering from amnesia. Searching for help in landscapes eerily near-empty of life, she meets menacing and/or goofy personalities like a witchy woman (Lynne Compton), truck-driving “Omelet Man” (Roger M. Mayer), someone in a giant green fun-fur costume, and her own abusive husband (Robert Longstreet). Reeder shows a knack for unsettling audiovisual textures, but once it’s clear “The Oregonian” will offer no real storyline or explanations, viewer patience wears thin.

The Oregonian

Production

Produced by Christian Palmer, Roger M. Mayer, Christo Dimassis, Wen Marcoux, Ryan K. Adams, Scott Honea, Joey Marcoux. Executive producers, Steven Schardt, Elana Kruasz. Directed, written by Calvin Lee Reeder.

Crew

Camera (color, Super 16/16mm-to-HD), Ryan K. Adams; editor, Buzz Pierce; music, Scott Honea, Calvin Lee Reeder, Jed Maheau. Reviewed at Sundance Film Festival (Park City at Midnight), Jan. 26, 2011. Running time: 81 MIN.

With

Lindsay Pulsipher, Robert Longstreet, Matt Olsen, Lynne Compton, Roger M. Mayer, Barlow Jacobs, Chadwick Brown, Jed Maheu, Tipper Newton, Zumi Rosow, Scott Honea.

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