Enys Men (2023)

Enys Men (2023)

NR

A folk horror film that is as visually stunning as it is confusingly vague

6.3

Movie

United Kingdom
English
Horror
2023
MARK JENKIN
Edward Rowe, Flo Crowe, Joe Gray
90 min

TLDR

I'm not usually a fan of "ending explained" articles but it's a must for this one.

What it's about

Enys Men is a folk horror film about a woman who is sent to observe a rare flower on an uninhabited island, but soon begins to experience strange and disturbing visions.

The take

After 90 minutes of watching folkloric spring and a lone volunteer's descent into madness, it soon becomes clear to the audience that Enys Men sacrifices its narrative for visual and sonic feats. The soundscape of dripping water, whistling wind, and crunching footsteps layered upon a montage of old-grain textured visuals qualify this as a sensory piece of art. But merely showing how the repetitive and lonely life of the volunteer progresses into troubling hallucinations, body horror, and mysterious apparitions makes this arthouse film too vague to parse. There's no doubt that director Mark Jenkin can create an immersive and atmospheric film, but the ASMR of it all falls flat without a graspable story underneath.

What stands out

The film is shot using a 16 mm camera, and that choice gives the final product most of its character. But paired with minimal dialogue, it’s clear how much of this appeal begins and ends with the editing. Whether to fit the folk setting, enhance the unsettling wide shots, or smother us in the protagonist's loneliness, the camera does all the heavy lifting. It would be a stretch to call this horror, but the attempts at it visually are commendable.

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