Director: Jesse Knight
Cast: Niki Leydecker, Jay Baretto, Andy Bateman
Production Company: JK Films
Runtime: 75 minutes
Jesse Knight’s F-3 (2013) is a riddle wrapped tightly inside a nightmare. His film is light on plot, and extremely heavy on metaphoric imagery. F-3 is a psychedelic trip into the darkest regions of a deeply disturbed subconscious mind.
In the movie, a soldier returns home from war to discover his wife has been murdered. He struggles in vain against the lack of meaning and purpose in his life. It isn’t long before he descends into hell, both figuratively and literally.
Knight began work on F-3 without a script, shooting in the desert outside Nevada with some eager film students. He completed the film after returning to his childhood home in North Carolina, where he built the hellish mountain range seen in the movie.
The film is shot in an avant-garde style that is experiential rather than narrative in form. Images change without warning, and can often leave the viewer feeling disoriented. Knight’s decision to favour depth over simple understanding helps to create the sensation of a waking nightmare.
The cryptic narration reminded me of another artsy horror movie entitled, Curse of the Zodiac (2007). Both films are very surreal and often bewildering, due in part to their narrators. I should also mention that the gore effects in the film are disturbing and realistic in nature.
There is very little dialogue in this film. Most of the story is presented to us through voices heard over strange images. The movie has some similarities to the works of David Lynch. I found this film to be similar in tone to Eraserhead (1977) in particular.
The last moments of F-3 made me feel like I was watching the psychedelic finale of 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) through a distorted carnival mirror. Instead of feeling hopeful and uplifted, I felt as though I’d been on a mind-warping journey to the underworld itself.
You may be left wondering about the meaning of F-3 at the end of the film. Could F-3 be a reference to the soldier’s dead wife? Might it be an experimental drug that was tested on the hapless soldier? In the end, only one thing is certain: F-3 is the question…
– John Migliore
For more information on the film, check out the links below…