Adventures in Streaming

* reviews of things i found on (mostly) netflix *

* now with spoilers *

Fever Night

Fever Night, also known as Band of Satanic Outsiders, is a movie with a catchy Netflix blurb and a striking thumbnail image. … so I ended up watching it.

It follows the attempt by three friends to perform an obscure ritual deep in the forest. One of them is injured, forcing the other two to go in search of help; instead they encounter nature – birds and trees and such – behaving in strange ways, and ultimately they’re confronted with the very kind of demonic entity they had been hoping to conjure.

The acting wasn’t the worst acting in the world; the plot was generic but not uninteresting. There’s a little bit of comedy that occasionally is really funny. But in the end, it’s the sort of film that you don’t really intend to watch again and aren’t entirely sure why you watched it all the way to the end.

… except the end is actually pretty thought-provoking.

The shape the demonic entity takes is basically that of a hermaphroditic goat-headed sort of creature, and it clearly frightens and disgusts the friends, but it was conjured as a manifestation of their desires, so … on some level, they had wanted such a creature.

They had wanted this.

What does that mean? If you had asked them what they wanted, they wouldn’t have said they wanted a hermaphroditic goat-headed creature; when they see it, they’re horrified. But the ritual has worked – clearly it did, since the creature is there at all – so this must have been what they wanted deep down.

The ending of Fever Night can cause us to think about your own desires and motivations, and all the things that are deep-down that we don’t let come to the surface … things that we may not even know are there. Even beyond the typical musings about the darkness that can reside in all of us, even outside of notions of good and evil, the question comes up: how well do we know ourselves? More to the point, how would we feel about those things we might discover? How would we handle it if we found it disturbing? Can we truly become someone separate from desires we don’t want to have, or do they eventually bubble up no matter what we do?

Ultimately, Fever Night is not a horrible way to spend a couple of hours; it invites the audience to do some introspection, and there are a couple of laughs to boot.


popcorn icon  5 out of 10.

The Thing I Like About …

Fever Night:  the punchline.  [Warning: spoilers]

Fever Night is a … strange … little movie, one that has a lot of deliberate camp, some decent acting, a fairly interesting premise, tolerable effects, and for whatever reason anyone might have, an overabundance of altered-states imagery.  The people in the film don’t take drugs particularly, but apparently the audience is supposed to feel like we have.

The film does a good job of melding some creepy stuff with tongue-in-cheek characters and ludicrous situations.  It follows a couple and their friend into the woods where they intend to raise a satanic demon and, you know, command it to give them prosperity and all that.  The male half of the couple is determined that this demon they’ll be summoning will give him “what he really wants.”

In the end, this determined man is confronted with an entity that he believed to be his girlfriend, but her head has been replaced by an animal head and her shapely body has now been adorned with giant boy-bits (kids read this blog).  She expresses confusion at his alarm, saying, “But this is what you really wanted!”

It’s not staggering as punch-lines go, but it made me think about all the times we, in the real world, ignore our darker side, hoping it just doesn’t exist rather than facing it and learning to control it.  All the times we don’t ask for what we really want because we’re afraid of being judged, or mocked, or disappointed, or because others will distance themselves from what we imagine to be our whacky notions.  Maybe we would be judged, or mocked, or abandoned; maybe facing our dark side is a scary prospect – but it seems like it might be better than living a perpetual lie, judging and abandoning ourselves.  If the determined man had been more honest with himself about what he really wanted, maybe he could have found it sooner – and without the painful, frightened trip through the woods.