When The Shit Hits The Fan

Before he was interviewing movie stars or producing podcasts, horror fandom stalwart Tom Elliot was sharing his thoughts on the genre with the GeekPlanetOnline community. From grim 1970s slashers to modern CGI murder, if you need the opinion of a gorehound then Tom is your man...

I’m veering a little away from my usual territory with this edition of That Horror Thing. The film I’m going to be talking about is something that I’ve been hearing whispers about ever since I plugged myself into the online horror community when I started writing for GeekPlanetOnline. It seems to defy categorisation enough that everyone who sees it seems happy enough to adopt it, so I’ll do the same. 

Is it horror? There are some images that veer that way, but I wouldn’t entirely put it in the horror category no. Is it science fiction? Possibly, there are some beings in it that seem to fit that category, but I don’t know… Is it fantasy? Hmmm that one seems to fit more than others, but it would almost depend on how you interpret it. Maybe it’s best to let go of our usual need to categorise things and just let the film speak for itself. The film is called Ink and here’s the trailer…. 

As the light fades and the city goes to sleep, two forces emerge. They are invisible except for the power they exert over us in our sleep, battling for our souls through dreams. One force delivers hope and strength through good dreams; the other infuses the subconscious with desperation through nightmares. John (Chris Kelly) and Emma (Quinn Hunchar), Father and Daughter are wrenched into this fantastical dream world battle, forced to fight for John's soul and to save Emma from an eternal nightmare. Separate in their journey, they encounter unusual characters that exist only in their subconscious. Or do they? 

It certainly cuts a fine trailer, but does it deliver? I’ll admit initially I wasn’t convinced. Let’s face it, a budget of $250,000 is not much money at all, and whereas in the 70’s a low budget would sometimes give the end product a gritty authenticity, these days it can mean a lifeless digital picture that gives everything a sheen of cheapness. That’s not to say Ink fails in this way, but it does have a look that’s slightly reminiscent of it at times and makes things feel just that little bit less weighty. Also occasionally the cast of unknowns performances can feel amateurish. It might seem churlish to criticise a low budget film for having low budget traits, but where Ink succeeds is that by the end, these things really didn’t matter and I imagine, that on subsequent watches, they’ll matter even less. The longer Ink went on, the more I was drawn in.

It’s astonishing what Ink achieves on its budget. I don’t recall an optical effect that looks false or poorly done; some much bigger budgeted films struggle to achieve this level of quality and consistency. Effects aren’t everything though, without heart it’s all just empty spectacle, but Ink’s heart is perhaps its greatest triumph. You’ll come for the visuals, but you’ll stay for the heart.

Ink has been playing at small screenings around the US over the past year, slowly building word of mouth, generating its own buzz. Strangely though, Ink’s writer/director Jamin Winans thinks that the best thing that happened to the film was something that would give most directors nightmares; it got pirated and distributed on torrent sites. All of a sudden Ink’s popularity grew faster than ever, its IMDB page was suddenly buzzing and positive word of mouth was bringing it to the attention of more people than ever before and the demand for DVD’s and Blu Rays suddenly sky-rocketed.

It’s a delicate balancing act sometimes when you’re trying to do your part to promote a film you believe in; going over the top can put people’s expectations through the roof. Approaching Ink expecting to be blown away isn’t the best way to go. Along with the internet fans singing its praises, there are the occasional dissenters who can’t get past the low budget look and amateurish performances, so it obviously doesn’t work for everyone. Admittedly these were initially issues for me too, but there’s one moment that serves as a good litmus test for whether Ink will work for you or not. Before this moment I was unsure whether I could actually get on board with Ink, it involves a dollar bill, and anyone who has seen it will know exactly what I mean, but anyone who hasn’t I wouldn’t spoil your potential enjoyment. This is where Ink began to soar for me, and from then on it had me emotionally where it wanted me. 

So, if you’re one of those who are constantly visiting message boards complaining of the lack of originality in Hollywood, you could do a lot worse than putting your money where your mouth is and supporting Ink. I won’t guarantee you’ll join the hordes of people proclaiming it a classic, but it’s possible. At the very least you’d be making good on your complaints, because if nothing else, Ink is a sincere and honest effort to do something fresh and original, and for most people, it seems to succeed. 

We all have films that we use for different reasons in life. Sometimes it’s to restore our faith in humanity, sometimes it’s to motivate us, other times to give us comfort. Sometimes we need to be reminded of what’s important in life, and for that I have Ink.



The only place to legitimately buy Ink is from Double Edge Films' website. All DVD’s and Blu Ray disks are region free. If you have watched Ink via a torrent, do the right thing and visit the site and click on the contribute button and help to support Ink.