Independent Indies – Living Arrangements
I’m always on the lookout for decent werewolf films. Thanks to Anna’s irrational fear of werewolves it has become quite the enjoyable quest to find a movie that will scare the crap out of her. So when I caught wind of a potential showing of the Minneapolis filmed werewolf film Living Arrangements at The Uptown, I knew that I had a chance to combine my love of watching Indie films with my love of terrifying my girlfriend.
Sasha (Joe Noreen) and Billie (Alexandra Glad) are recently engaged and struggling to find their first apartment together. That is until they find the perfect apartment. It has everything, a great location, a ton of space and a werewolf that lives in the attic that is just dying to be fed. Just how far will these two die-hard vegans go to support their unlikely and unwanted roommate’s meat eating habit? It is a great apartment after all.
True Independent films always need to be entered with a certain amount of lowered expectations, especially if you are only used to Hollywood fare. The casts are typically populated with non-actors, the shooting schedules are often spur of the moment and the budgets are typically non-existent at best. I wasn’t sure what to expect with Living Arrangements, I had the impression that it was going to be a splatter comedy, but other then that knew little about what awaited me. So I figured it would be best to lower my expectations and hope for the best. Thankfully, Living Arrangements made sure to routinely best them, and on a few occasions, by leaps and bounds.
Perhaps one of the more pleasant surprises of the film (if you are into this kind of thing) is that it has a much darker tone then I expected. Oh sure it has its fair share of puns, wacky moments and gore induced site gags, but Living Arrangements always has a rather disturbing reality bubbling under its seemingly cheery facade. This “cute” couple slowly unravels during the course of this ordeal, and while the werewolf certainly is the primary antagonist, Sasha and Billie are passive aggressive enough that it is hard to see them as surviving any difficult test for any length of time. These were once likable people, but as they fall prey to their darker desires it is hard not to root them on to even lower depths of depravity.
The star of the film is clearly the special effects, which range from sufficient at worst to outstanding at best. The werewolf suit is obviously the key to the whole film, and the design, resulting from what appears to be a rather perverted and unholy union between an alien and a wolf, is quite creepy. Granted the effect doesn’t hold up quite as well in some of the close ups, but when the werewolf is lingering in the shadows the image is downright horrifying. The gore effects are just as impressive, if not more so. From the dripping entrails of a crushed squirrel to a jaw dropping severed arm sequence that can scarcely be believed. The gore effects may not come early and often, but when they do show up they are all universally outstanding.
This isn’t to say Living Arrangements is without its faults, the acting isn’t the greatest, and while I love Mark Borchardt (American Movie) I think we can all agree he can’t really play anyone other then Mark Borchardt, Man. Though Mark’s limited range is counter balanced by Paul Cram who plays Colin, the skeevy gay friend who has eyes for Sasha, and is quite willing to put his paws all over him. It’s a great role, and Cram nails it, so to speak.
Living Arrangements also has some pacing issues and a few script quirks that are a little too noticeable (Sasha and Billie hem and haw over a place that costs $800 but are gung ho for another that costs $950?), but as the film progresses and separates itself from the cheery gooeyness of the opening act and descends into depravity it begins to become quite the enjoyable, twisted ride.
Living Arrangements will have its World Premier on March 19th at The Uptown Theater. The Show will be at 7pm and is $8. Along with the screening their will be a free raffle, with various prizes and giveaways.
Living Arrangements Trailer