Horror Anthology Allegoria (2022) Paints a Brutal Portrait of Art
First Non-Festival Release: August 1, 2022 (Digital/Streaming Platforms)
Director: Spider One
Writer: Spider One
Runtime: 69 Minutes
Starring: Krsy Fox, John Ennis, Bryce Johnson
Where to Watch: Check out where to find it here
Allegoria tells five interconnected tales of artists experiencing torture via their own creations. An actress finds the monster within herself during a routine class exercise. A painter is haunted by a specter borne from his latest piece. Another man learns the true horror behind his date’s sculpting process. A writer’s villain comes to life as he puts the finishing touches on his latest script. Lastly, a punk rocker accidentally awakens something in her roommate when creating a sinister melody. Their stories collide and interact in mysterious ways before they all meet their gruesome end.
Cohesive and creepy, Allegoria is a solid collection of disturbing and unique shorts that dwell on the metaphorical ways art can torture us.
Anthologies allow directors or teams of directors to explore a theme or topic from multiple perspectives. Spider One opines on the connection between art and the darkest parts of a person. Fear, shame, and anger all play a part in how the characters of Allegoria respond to their bizarre situations. Simultaneously, the connection between their work and their fate suggests an intrinsic struggle borne in artists to produce and give even at their own expense. Taking a page from other successful modern anthology horror films, these stories bleed into on another, highlighting the idea that these struggles are related and entwined not just through a single thread but through multiple avenues.
Throughout the film, several actors truly step up and knock their respective parts out of the park. Krysy Fox showcases just how exceptional her range is and how she can carry a film. She contorts herself in the sickest ways while possessed by the music designed to elicit feelings of terror. Her insecurities as an actress and in her life come through beautifully. She continues that same energy in her monologue to her roommate, albeit in a more tragic and vulnerable way. Adam Marcinowski balances the bravado of a serial killer with enough sinister energy to create a charismatic antagonist. It’s a shame he only gets so much screentime before the next segment begins. The last standout is Lyndsi LaRose. Toeing the line between innocent and psychotic deftly, she captivates, both her audience and her prey. Her control allows her range to flex and command the screen as she plays a manic pixie dream girl with a dark side.
Chock full of deeply disturbing and memorable imagery, Allegoria revels in its artistry. Most of the money shots from each of the shorts can act as good selling points for the film, but the one introduced in the film’s fourth segment featuring a guitar is easily its strongest. Practical effects work abounds in Allegoria and the craftmanship shows. From suited monsters to gross out body horror, everything is simultaneously spooky and realistic. A few rough edits take the viewer out of the film momentarily before succumbing to the clutches of its intriguing storyline. For example, some of the shorts stretch a bit too long but overall the film succeeds in part due to the brevity of its stories. Brooding and sinister, what you see in this low budget horror venture may leave you on edge.
High concept horror without much meat in between, Allegoria is an enjoyable horror outing that digests similarly to candy. It’s a sweet trip without much substance and that is okay. Spider One’s debut film oozes a confident vision that carries through its entirety. With anthologies, convincingly maintaining a sense of cohesion is always a hurdle to jump through, even for efforts limited on collaborators. Its commitment to tonal consistency helps explore equally interesting ideas of how art can get under the skin, inside the mind, and burst through the door. It isn’t revolutionary but it does show a bright future for Spider One should he continue in the horror space. Allegoria may not be for everyone, but if you are interested in taking a decidedly dark journey through the minds of artists, be warned of the ideas it might create in your mind.
Overall Score? 6.5/10