Allegoria, the debut feature from writer/director Spider One, finds tortured artists and torturing artists alike. This anthology film is a dark dive into the psyches of musicians, painters, actors, and others and serves up a variety of horror elements.
In the opening installment, acting teacher Robert Anderson Wright (John Ennis) demands that his students show him a monster. Ennis is pitch perfect as a hard-nosed instructor, giving an all-in performance that isn’t short on flying spittle.
Next up, angry artist Marcus Muller (Bryce Johnson) gets inspiration for his latest painting from a decidedly dark source. Johnson invests Muller with the proper amount of pretentiousness and cynicism, and what he confronts is disturbingly realized.
In the third segment — and probably the most viscerally brutal — screenwriter Eddie (Edward Hong) gets a lesson in crafting a slasher flick from an expert source (Adam Marcinowski). If it’s slasher action you crave, this section delivers.
Next, sculptor Ivy (Scout Compton) volunteers to help a man (Adam Busch as John) she met at the cinema that night to help him fulfill his dream of being a rock star. Compton gives one of the two standout performances of Allegoria, with an initially playful, charming turn as her character flirts with the shy, nerdy John and tells him her philosophies about art. This segment boasts one of the more gruesome shots in the film.
In the final segment, Brody (Krsy Fox, who also performed sound design and co-composed the score) is accepted into acting school, but her rock vocalist roommate Hope (Josephine Chang) accidentally opens a door to evil with a combination of musical notes. Fox gives another outstanding performance, delivering the most emotional scene in all of the anthology.
Spider One has a determined vision for Allegoria, and he sees it through. There’s far less humor in his film than in most anthologies, and the characters’ dialogue tend toward ruminations. The special effects are memorable, running from creepy creatures to gory denouements.
Allegoria screens as part of Panic Fest, which runs April 28–May 8, 2022, in Kansas City, with a virtual option. For more information, visit https://panicfilmfest.com/.
The film is also scheduled for release on Shudder and VOD from RLJE films on August 2, 2022.