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  • Writer's pictureTrusty Henchman

Have You Ever Seen......

Moon Garden (2022)

Every once in a while I'll rescan the Shudder catalog of films as my tastes change, and yup I apparently missed this one on all my previous perusals. Checked the trailer and while I saw some reviews likening it to Mad God I actually felt more of an old BBC Neverwhere vibe. The production values feel dated but in a good way, like watching old VHS recordings of odd shows you discovered when you were younger. The film was shot on expired film stock, so besides giving it a dreamy ethereal feeling I imagine the director was specifically aiming for that sensation of hazy film nostalgia.

The push of the film is that a 5 year old girl falls into a coma and must survive in a dark fantasy limbo world where's she's being chased by a nightmare that feeds on her tears. This is a very specific sub-genre of fantasy that I'm kinda obsessed with ever since I saw the old Canadian kids show The Odyssey back in the early 90's. A stronger modern example might be Grant Morrison and Sean Murphey's Joe the Barbarian, which I'll always recommend. I'm a sucker for these coma stories that question which reality is real, or if both happen to be at the same time.

The girl ends up utilizing memories of her parents to move forward in the world and we get a pretty straight forward but engaging journey. Considering how young the star of the film was the script is kept sparse, and that works pretty well and leans on the visual and emotional strengths of the story.

The overall aesthetic of the film feels sorta like a Jim Henson/Tool collaboration with a Resident Evil filter applied on top of it. The design elements of the main villain (named only Teeth in the credits) feel vaguely Sandman-esque, and that combined with Morgana Ignis' creepy performance made you wishing that the creature had more screen time.

This is the kind of film that if I saw this in my youth it would have sunk in deep into my brain. I'm not sure if it's too dark to give to a younger kid these days because my brain was rotted away fairly quickly with all sorts of 80's-90's horror, but I feel like this would be something that could leave a child hunting for it in their future and that in itself feels like a valuable experience.


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