Dir. Kit Ryan
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
DEMENTAMANIA begins in a cycle and doesn’t take long to kick start what is quite possibly the best British horror since 28 DAYS LATER.
After starting his routinely OCD apparent morning as usual, Edward Arkham (Sam Robertson) unwittingly steps on a wasp. Not his normal beginning but his mundane lifestyle as a repetitive office worker is about to change forever.
Apparent affects from the sting, Edward’s anxiety levels blow out of control as his focus from spread sheets and forecasts transpires to acts of violence and office sex. Accompanied by his work colleagues Pablo (Robert Van Twillert) and Stephen (Anthony Bachman), Ed seeks to get through the day without suffering a breakdown.
But in the face of piling pressure, a breakdown in his love life and constant obstacles in his way, Ed battles against his employers and the on-going reaction to the wasp sting. Surrounded by weird behaviour, the constant harassment from a new colleague (Vincent Regan) and illusions that make ‘Hellraiser’ seem like a vacation, the line between fiction and reality blur beyond comprehension.
If DEMENTAMANIA were a cocktail it would be 1 measure of Cronenberg, 1 measure of THE OFFICE, topped up with FALLING DOWN and finally a finish of AMERICAN PSYCHO. Sam Robertson gives the performance of the year as the enigmatic Edward who manages to be both sadistic, charming and typically British that manages to wipe out an entire office and still come away smirking.
With all of the downward spiral, Kit Ryan manages to capture the characterisation for Robertson to hold this film on his own but surrounds him with an office full of characters whom bring more anxiety, humour and pivotal story telling that make everything so visionary when you reach the final moments. Kal Penn and Geoff Bell bring sleaze and pressure only making Ed’s day that little bit worse and with a chance encounter with ex-girlfriend Laura (Holly Weston), life doesn’t get easier. Every jigsaw piece left behind pieces together to not only wrap up Edwards escapades but also create the best excuses for some of the most chillingly bizarre scenes on screen.
American director works well with the very British styling of the film that feels like a usual day in the office, the colleagues of a real world, the flawed characters that surround our lives and the events that could quite possibly trigger off such drastic conclusions.
Kit Ryan and Anis Shlewet have created a monster, one set to light the sky upon its release. If you can get past the poorly computer generated wasp flying around the London skyline, and the multiple endings that really could have closed with one, not all three, DEMENTAMANIA will open you up to a world which is both relatable and frighteningly real.