Sunday, February 23, 2014

Eraserhead review

This is the weirdest movie I've seen since Mulholland Drive. Which (coincidentally?) is also written and directed by David Lynch.
Eraserhead is the first movie by auteur director David Lynch. The first Lynch film I saw was Mulholland Drive. I went into it thinking it would follow a regular plot and be a regular movie. It was none of those things. The movie was insanely weird and confusing. I initially hated it. After some serious afterthought, I began to really, really like it. So when I started watching Lynch's debut film, Eraserhead, I was quite excited. Hoping to get the strange eerie feel and underlying messages all with homages to classic cinema. What I got instead was an even weirder, less enjoyable, and kind of gross movie that honestly disappointed me. Eraserhead isn't an all bad skip-it-for-sure kind of movie. It has a lot of admirable qualities and it's certainly interesting, but it's bad qualities far outweigh it's good ones. Eraserhead is sort of about a nervous man named Henry (Jack Nance) dealing with his mutant baby in a post-apocalyptic-ish environment. I say it's sort of about that because there's obviously some other themes and messages at work here. Some are obvious like the man's fear of parenthood and others aren't clear at all. With a Lynch film you obviously have to expect some element of confusion and weirdness. Yet, with Eraserhead, I feel David Lynch goes overboard with it all. Some scenes seem like they're weird and gross just for the sake of being weird and gross. The weird scenes may have some deep meaning that only Dave Lynch knows, but after a point all those strange and cryptic scenes just become tiring. I am starting to wonder if even David Lynch himself knows exactly what this movie is about. In one scene in the beginning, Henry's girlfriend's mother informs him that her daughter has had a baby. She becomes visibly angry with Henry, then begins to make out with him. There seemed to be no purpose to that. I felt like Lynch just threw in scenes to test the audience's patience. If that's the case, I suppose he's succeeded. I appreciated some aspects of the film, but most of the movie I spent having a look of disgust and confusion on my face. Some movies are gross and weird, like The Evil Dead, but have many other redeeming qualities that make me not mind the weird grotesqueness. Those films also have a reason for the disgusting weirdness. Eraserhead seems like it has no reason for it. Movies don't have to be constant fun and enjoyment, but they should have an aspect that makes them worth watching. I could barely find one in Eraserhead. The one thing I have to commend Lynch on here is the sound. He's able to use very practical sound effects to create a constant eerie and scary environment that fits the movie like a glove. I disliked most of it, but the sound was really well done. David Lynch is quite adept at creating a tone for his movies. A skill he practically masters here and perfected with Mulholland Drive. His directing is quite good, yet he's written a movie that's just no fun at all to watch. There's one scene at the end that almost made me vomit watching it. This is not a good thing. What I consider to be the best horror films, The Shining and The Silence of the Lambs, use creepiness and occasional gore to speed along a terrific story. Eraserhead's story is weak and it uses creepiness and lots of gross images as a crutch for where it's lacking in other areas. At some point in the movie I became angry at David Lynch. Why can't the guy just make a regular movie? I don't mind strange and confusing films if they are good and have many redeeming aspects to them. Eraserhead didn't. I appreciate some of the technical work on Eraserhead, but I just didn't like the movie. In creating a creepy tone and style for the film, David Lynch has succeeded on all counts. In creating a watchable, somewhat understandable, and enjoyable movie, Lynch has failed on all counts. Happy Viewing, guys. If you haven't already, you should follow me on Twitter @WhitsMovies and like me on Facebook at                

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