Lo (2009)

(Streaming on Netflix as of 9/26/2011)

I was surprised many times by Lo—by the style, by the story, by the humor, by the clever mixing of genres, even by the music. But most of all by how much I grew to really like this movie as it unfolded. It has a bizarre charm that endeared itself to me much like how the bizarre April endears herself to the main character, Justin. And like April, it has a much bigger heart than you would expect.

Know going into this movie that it’s a very low budget production that resembles a minimalist stage play more than a Hollywood film. It took me almost the whole first act to adjust to this unique style and to the abrupt shifts in tone, but once I did, the movie became a lot of fun. Upon reflection, I think the low budget works in its favor and accounts for a lot of its charm.

If you don’t want to risk spoilers, stop reading now. Otherwise…

The humor is almost slapstick at times, and reminded me of the Evil Dead movies. Bruce Campbell once described Army of Darkness as “a goofball movie made by goofballs for goofballs.” Lo was most definitely made by fellow goofballs; there’s even a clever homage to one of the goofballiest moments from Evil Dead 2.

At one point Justin, trapped within the pentagram he’s drawn on the floor and tormented by the demon he summoned, is arguing out loud with the voice in his own head, trying to shut it up but getting frustrated because ultimately the argument itself is the reason why his mind isn’t silent. I laughed pretty hard during this scene because it was a melodramatic version of what I go through every morning when I sit for my meditation!

But as funny as it is, it has a genuine emotional core to its story. The ending forces you to reinterpret the actions of one of the characters in a way that’s almost heart-breaking and begs a second viewing.

More info at IMDb , RottenTomatoes, and Amazon.com.

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