The Purgation is a movie that has been on my radar for some time, from first coming across a trailer last year and reading a interview with Writer/Director Elaine Chu in which she spoke about her love for Japanese and Korean horror. And how she made a conscious effort to have an Asian American main star (Tiffany Kieu) due to how that type of film-making inspired her.
And now after getting my hands on the final cut I can happily say that this is one seriously, seriously good horror movie.
The Purgation follows Iris (Tiffany Kieu, Megan Truong) on a journey back to her hometown of Black Woods to revisit an abandoned mental asylum in where she and her friends experienced unimaginable horrors while attempting to create a horror movie as children. While planning her investigations and visiting her childhood friends that ventured into the asylum with her we see not only the effects it had on them but Iris’s struggles of trying to have a grasp on her sanity due to suffering from horrific flashbacks and visions.
Iris’s struggles with reality and what’s real or not is both brilliantly played out by some fantastic acting from Tiffany Kieu but the entire cast (including a brilliant performance from Kat Johnston as Iris’s friend Eddie) and is expertly shot. Even on my second viewing I found nods to Iris’s battle between sanity and insanity that I had previously missed. This is also complimented by a score that falls perfectly in place with the movie.
This is a extremely well written movie, and a very refreshing one at that. In which I found myself on more than one occasion trying to use my years of watching horror to attempt a guess at what would happen, just to be quickly proved wrong when something completely different happened. It is also a fantastically creepy movie, one highlight being a harrowing rendition of the Lord’s Prayer that I will not be forgetting in a long time.
As mentioned above, Kieu’s performance as Iris was superb, she captured Iris’s agonizing spiral into insanity in a really genuine way that will connect with the audience, equally mirrored by not only Johnston’s performance as a protecting mother-like figure, but the whole cast. Including a really talented and entertaining group of young actors that perfectly express the fearlessness of youth for the opening parts of the movie.
Overall my final thoughts are this. If you don’t watch this movie when it is released then you are well and truly missing out on one of the best horror movies I have seen this year, if not the best. It is refreshing, entertaining and creepy.
Elaine Chu has shown how much of a talented filmmaker she is in this film, and you can really feel how much this movie meant to herself and the whole crew while making it, and is a very deserving winner of a Best Feature award at the LA Independent Artist Film Festival.