DVD Review: Little Joe (2019)

March 9, 2020

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?
Alice (Emily Beecham) toils away breeding plants packed full of good ol’ genetic engineering that her company hopes to sell for a tidy profit along with her co-worker Chris (Ben Wishlaw). One of their major finds is a plant that releases a scent that stimulates happiness in people’s brains. I’m sure nothing wrong will happen involving that experiment…
Something goes wrong with that experiment, and soon the plant, dubbed ‘Little Joe’, subtly changes everyone that breathes it’s pollen so that they are happy as clams as intended, but they give zero shits about the outside world and anyone not under Joe’s sway.
Will anyone escape the assimilation to happy town, or will the world become strung out on that sweet, sweet Joe?

Little Joe is one odd lil’ flick boils n’ ghouls! For starters this is a rather low key, detached affair, a style choice that accentuates the fact that the only way the world can be happy is through artificial stimulation… and the film’s performances highlight the theme solidly as well.

As for aesthetics, expect a clinical mood fraught with smart choices in regards to hues… pale color choices (think toothpaste green, soft pink, and brilliant white) contrasts with the violet and reds of the titular plants, making them the real focus point (and Alice’s vibrant red hair links her visually to them perfectly).

Also of note is the off-kilter score that accompanies this surreal flick provided by Teiji Ito and Markus Binder. A more suiting discordant mix of melody and unease one would be hard pressed to find.

While the film is intriguing, the selection of extras on this DVD from Magnolia Pictures runs on the extremely slim side, with a Q&A sesh featuring Beecham and the film’s director, Jessica Hausner, being the sole bonus offered.

Being a product of thoughtful sci-fi/horror, Little Joe holds a mirror up to society and reflects back an ugly truth… we are growing amazingly distant and unhappy as a species, and that is true horror indeed cats n’ creeps…



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