There are ultimately two extremes within the canon of horror cinema: those films which are focused on artistry and only use the set pieces of horror to create atmosphere, and those films which are focused on being scary without much artistic flair.  Christian Hallman’s Sensoria manages to bring these two extremes together by being neither artistic nor scary, resulting in something that just seems to exist for about an hour and twenty minutes.  I considered using the term “unraveled” here, but that was when I realized that there was nothing to unravel in the first place.

Sensoria tells the story of a woman who moves into an apartment building after losing everything in her life, and soon starts encountering weirdness.  I truly mean it when I state the movie “tells” its story.  Twenty minutes in, an old woman tells the viewers the question and, much later, a little girl tells us the answer.  There’s not much left up to the audience.

In between, the film decides to turn into an atmospheric horror film, at which, staying on course, it manages to fail.  There is a complete lack of production design, and its characterization of unsettling characters consists of placing an ordinary looking individual in front of the camera and having them stare at the protagonist;  as if to say “isn’t this guy creepy?” or “are you scared yet?”.

There is one moment in the film that manages to stick out – a “sex scene” involving a woman, a ghost and several disembodied hands.  This chilling scene is deserving of a better film, and its sudden appearance surprised me.  It’s almost as if the Swedish filmmaker had left the set for a day and put someone capable in charge.  If this sequence piques your interest, keep your eyes peeled on YouTube.  Despite it being a standout, this scene is not worth the price of admission or the time which would be spent watching this exercise in unintentional ennui.


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Shahbaz Khayambashi: @Shakhayam

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