Just when you though it was safe to go back into the...arcade? Graham Skipper, the star of such recent films like Almost Human, The Mind's Eye and most recently Beyond the Gates, delivers his second directorial feature, Sequence Break, that plays out like a Cronenbergian Wreck-It Ralph fever dream.
Billed as a surreal sci-fi romance that follows Oz (Chase Williamson), a video arcade technician, who falls in love with a customer, Tess (Fabianne Therese). As the store he's working at is going under he becomes entranced with a single video game with mesmerizing pixelated flashing lines that transports him into a psychosexual dimension causing his grip on reality to slip day-by-day.
Sequence Break is the kind of movie I imagine hardcore hipster gamers live on a daily basis. Rather than reaching for the Kleenex's and stealing a fleeting moment of joy on the dark corners of the internet they fetishize retro games to the point of ecstasy. Skipper uses lots of icky imagery with a flurry of squishy sound effects while Oz is suggestively fondling the controls of the video game. The controls become wet while Oz sensually inserts his digits into the games control center while moaning. Have I painted a vivid enough picture yet?
Skipper's grasp on body horror visuals is quite deft--it's the storytelling and structure that suffer. Weird is an understatement once Williamson begins imprinting on the the colorful piece of hardware. The film dips in and out of the quirky romance, a mysterious vagrant with stalkerish interest in the game and Oz's midnight excursions. Eventually, as the third act squishes its way across your eyeballs all semblance of plot go out the window and the film becomes a barrage of nonsensical imagery that--if nothing else--will make you feel you've been violated.
Sequence Break is a series of 0's and 1's that no doubt comes together in the form of a movie. However, it's code is a bit muddled near the final act and in some need of reprogramming. All in all, it is still a neat progression to Skipper's future as a director.
Screened as part of the 2017 Fantasia International Film Festival.