Creepy and unnerving art-horror from Sweden’s Ronny Carlsson, whose
talent for surreal apprehension is put to unforgettable use.
This digitally lensed feature, a sequel of sorts to
Ronny Carlsson’s 2010 short
RECOMPENCE, was shot over the course of
three weekends, with a $3,000 budget and an on-set cast and crew of just
6 people. As of September 2012 DUST BOX has yet to be distributed, but I
expect that situation will change in the coming months.
A young woman wants to have a baby but can’t, a fact
that depresses her and her boyfriend greatly. But then one day, to her
great surprise, the woman discovers she’s become impregnated. Her joy,
however, quickly turns to anxiety and terror. Among other things, she
suffers from nightmares involving a strange box in a field whose
surroundings grow increasingly stark and blood spattered.
In short, the poor woman is losing her mind over how
her baby might turn out. She eventually gives birth…but is that birth
“real” or just another nightmare? For that matter, was she ever
really pregnant to begin with?
It seems this film has already attracted some
controversy due to its unprecedented genre mixing. Ronny Carlsson has
listed his major influences as Ingmar Bergman, Andrzej Zulawski and
not names you normally hear recited by horror filmmakers (who are more
likely to evoke the likes of George Romero and Joe Dante). Carlsson’s
oft-kilter tastes are evident in the visually evocative nature of the
film, which is anything but a traditional horror movie--or for that
matter a traditional art film. It’s more an atmospheric mood piece,
marked by an ever-present sense of hallucinatory dread and little-to-no
demarcation between dream and reality. The rich cinematography by Mikael
Johansson is instrumental to the overall impact, as is the eerie sound
If the film has an overriding flaw it’s that it appears
to have been conceived in a form similar to that of RECOMPENCE--i.e.
as a short film. Even at a quick 72 minutes DUST BOX feels overlong and
drawn-out, with a few too many repetitive shots of the heroine wandering
through desolate cityscapes and forests.
Yet the film’s nightmarish aura is undeniable, and
evoked with enormous skill. Equally undeniable is the mark it will leave
on the psyche of the receptive viewer.
Film Bizarro Productions
Director/Screenplay/Editing: Ronny Carlsson
Producers: Ronny Carlsson, Preston Carnell
Cinematography: Mikael Johansson
Cast: Mariah Kanninen, Robert Ericsson, Ronny Carlsson, Nathalie