POPCORN FRIGHTS: Presence (2022)

After leaving New York after a mental breakdown, Jennifer (Jenna Lyng Adams) learns from her friend Sam (Alexandria DeBerry) that at least her business life is going well, as billionaire David (Dave Vacis) wants them to work on the design of his new product. He invites her to his private yacht, but that’s when she starts being confronted with visions of violence. Is she possessed? Is this how her anxiety shows itself? And is anyone safe from her?

Director Christian Schultz, who wrote the script with Peter Ambrosio, embraces the form of giallo that is not as much about black gloved killers. Instead, it’s the film in which a female protagonist doubts every single thing in her reality, as she’s an unreliable narrator to herself. Jennifer dreams of being stalked by a shadowy figure that never quite reveals itself; she often awakens to situations that she’s escalated but can’t control.

With just minutes left, a character says, “You look like you have a lot of questions. I’d like to provide you with some answers.” The answers that we get may not solve the mystery of this movie, but the idea that our perception of the world is at odds with what others experience is a universal one; this movie pushes that idea to the limit.

Presence is playing at Popcorn Frights. To watch it, buy tickets at their screening room.

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