Dir. Gem Deger
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
When a Demir (Gem Deger) finds himself caught in a glitchy-glitzy reality with his onscreen male idol (Austin Chunn), he does all he can to be possessed by this man and ignore the violent clues of how he got there. Add into the mix an erotically charged girlfriend (Issy Stewart) and a wondering pig and PLAYDURIZM is the most WTF movie of the year.
Blending Cronenberg with Lynch degrees of storytelling, this is noir film making at it's best. There are remnants of Richard Kelly's indie debut and Richard Bates Jr that shine in a sci-fi horror that delves deep into personal trauma and the breaking of innocence.
The films influences are lit up in rainbow lights and despite the independent budget Deger has worked successfully with, certainly gives the likes of David Cronenberg and Brian Yuzna a run for their money, especially in the closing frame but intwined with what is quite possibly the most fucked up sex scene in horror. The dynamics between Deger, Chunn and Stewart is electrifying as the neon lights in Deger's world.
With all of the blood and body count building up to the jaw dropping climax, frankly there's not a moment to catch air in the most exhilarating independent debut movie since EXCISION. More importantly, this is the most influential LGBT+ horror film of it's time. There is no hiding in the closet as PLAYDURIZM is out and proud, and all the more refreshing for it. Demir's devotion to his idol is mesmerising to watch and as the two grow closer it's empowering to watch a relationship that's both sided without agenda or malice. This onscreen chemistry between Deger and Chunn is a force to be reckoned with and drives the closing moments ever more powerful.
Echoed throughout are Carpenter-esque synths and body horror to remind us this is not a love story and as Deger's film grabs you, literally, by the balls, it rips them to shreds as the shocking truth unfolds. For much of the film, the cards are held close to it's chest, and only through glitches and scratches between memories and dreams does Demir's reality finally come to fruition and it's sheer heartbreak, vivid, raw, uncomfortable and violent to a degree that the film wouldn't make it past the BBFC without some magic but to do so would to detrimentally release the emotional impact from Demir's journey.
PLAYDURIZM is a horror film like no other, one that is uncomfortable and grotesque yet beautiful and heart-breaking. A true tour de force of film making that holds no bounds and puts Gem Deger on the top of the list of directors to watch out for.