SUNDANCE REVIEW: Experimental Horror Flick 'The Oregonian' Fails to Grab Audience

Tedious horror experiment steals gimmicks from actual avant-garde works and makes them look dull.

Lindsay Pulsipher stars as an unnamed woman in Calvin Lee Reeder's confusing -- and ridiculous -- venture that goes downhill quickly.

PARK CITY — Sundance Film Festival, Park City at Midnight — A would-be experimental horror film that earns more giggles than gasps, The Oregonian starts off as an exercise in lead-footed David Lynch mimicry and heads downhill quickly. If it ever surfaces on video, the only viewers who will be impressed are those who've seen so little of the avant garde that its non-sequitur atrocities look like innovations.

An unnamed woman (Lindsay Pulsipher) wrecks her station wagon on a back road and wanders, dazed, in search of help. Instead she finds grinning, speechless idiots and (on the rare occasion somebody speaks) spouters of cryptic lines like "these trees, they have a code, but it's not for our understandin.' " Sure, mister. And the owls are not what they seem.

At the film's Egyptian Theater screening, walkouts began a quarter-hour in and continued at a pace of nearly two per minute for 50 minutes, up until a man in a tutu raped a corpse with a gaping, foot-long hole in her back. Describing that scene and what preceded it -- vanishing folk singers, a man-sized, masturbating faux-Muppet, and the world's most repulsive daiquiris -- makes The Oregonian sound a lot more interesting than it is. At one point, the title character wanders through an abandoned, '70s-decorated house shouting "What the fuck!? ... What is this shit?!" Most viewers will feel she's speaking for them.

Venue: Sundance Film Festival, Park City at Midnight
Production Company: The Oregonian, LLC
Cast: Lindsay Pulsipher, Robert Longstreet, Matt Olsen, Lynne Compton, Roger M. Mayer, Barlow Jacobs, Chadwick Brown, Jed Maheu
Director-Screenwriter: Calvin Lee Reeder
Producers: Christian Palmer, Roger M. Mayer, Christo Dimassis, Wen Marcoux, Ryan K. Adams, Scott Honea, Joey Marcoux
Executive producer: Steven Schardt, Elana Kruasz
Director of photography: Ryan K. Adams
Music: Scott Honea, Calvin Lee Reeder, Jed Maheu
Editor: Buzz Pierce
Sales: XYZ Films
No rating, 80 minutes