We don’t wanna sit around watching covid docs, but after her last movie, we trusted Nanfu Wang to make a good one. The initial hook is her Chinese/American family getting caught a world apart when lockdowns begin, but the family-reunion adventure-film doesn’t play out. Instead, she sends Chinese reporters into hospitals and on other missions, spends all day and night sifting through their footage and various social media posts, piercing the censorship veil to locate real stories of the virus’s initial spread, its early damage and the government’s control over the media, before flipping back to the U.S. to discuss the same kind of political spin doctoring and poor decisions here.
Enid is a film censor (Niamh Algar, also of a Barry Keoghan drug dealer drama) with a set of strict rules, applying an even-handed scientific process to the banning of video nasties, then finding her life becoming one. It gets there gradually – the first death is almost an hour into the 83-minute movie. Hazy slow-mo traumatic flashbacks are not so good, the rest is fine, especially when a sleazy Michael Smiley shows up (she impales him on one of his own film awards). She ends up on a film set which is all a dream conspiracy. Didn’t totally work for me, but I appreciate postmodern takes on the schlocky horror movies more than people who revere the originals seem to.