Written and Directed by
Nathan and Seth Anderson
Robert McAtee, Seriina Covarrubias, Kevin Dahlgren, Jenny McGriff
An intriguing and involving film from the filmmaking team of Nathan and Seth Anderson, "Black" is accurately described as a psychic thriller. The story of a husband and wife, Emile (Robert McAtee) and Dana (Seriina Covarrubias), "Black" weaves its way through a dizzying array of subtexts that may or may not involve psychological disruptions, emotional blockage and/or unresolved traumas. What is known is that both Emile and Dana are in danger of having their marriage and, perhaps, even their lives destroyed if they cannot find a way to unite against the dark forces that have infiltrated their lives.
Powerfully filmed in pristine black-and-white imagery, "Black" is decorated in soft, deceptively simple shadings of black, gray and white throughout the film from the costuming of the characters to the actual production design and even the staging areas being utilized.
Emile is seemingly troubled by the recurring dream of a monster or alien chasing him. Is this being ill intended? It's unclear, yet each time Emile awakens he is bound and gagged. Emile is a psychiatrist who is facing a potential terminal illness, and yet struggling to communicate honestly with his increasingly distant wife.
Dana, on the other hand, is a psychic who accidentally invites a negative force into their home while attempting to help a man find his missing wife. Emile doesn't believe in her psychic abilities, and their initial conflicts center around her refusal to take the medications he has prescribed to address her "delusions."
In the matter of a mere 40 minutes, Seth and Nathan Anderson have constructed a film that is visually hypnotic, emotionally involving and also quite intelligent. They are aided, of course, by the strong performances of Robert McAtee and Seriina Covarrubias as the young couple who must fight through their darkness if there is hope of reaching the light.
McAtee also provides "Black" with a stellar original score, a perfect complement to the film's journey between stark realism and psychic fantasy. Filmed in the Pacific Northwest, "Black" magnificently capitalizes on the area's natural beauty with an eerie calm that feels like Ansel Adams meets "Twilight Zone."