Dementamania review

The first indication that something is not quite right with Edward Arkham (Robertson) is his name. It calls to mind Edward Nygma and the asylum which housed him in the Batman universe; a deeply problematic psychosis or a riddle perhaps?

Arkham is deeply unhappy and frustrated with the monotony of the mundane day-to-day; no girlfriend, job dissatisfaction and in the morning of Dementamania’s opening, he steps on a wasp-like bug, the sting of which embeds itself in his foot. Ed continues his working day, teased and generally annoyed by colleagues Pablo (van Twillert) and Stephen (Cozens) and terrorised by visions. Then the mysterious Nicholas Lemarchand (Regan) shows up and things take a more bizarre turn and Ed’s grip on reality starts to diminish.

Dementamania starts promisingly enough; the establishing point-of-view shot of the insect flying out of the slashed wrist of a corpse is stylishly done, and anybody stuck in a soul-destroying 9-to-5, believing they deserve more than the life they currently lead would do well not to identify with the protagonist, even briefly but then it all starts to unravel. Some of the issues stem from the leading man, Robertson (Coronation Street, Beaver Falls) is rather bland and lacks the ability to convey true emotion, even menace, and all of his expressions and actions appear to be an effort.  He is reminiscent of a more charmless Dominic Cooper which is a real shame; even Patrick Bateman was beguiling in his own twisted way.

The film delivers an early promise of a body horror, like Cronenberg’s The Fly, and it is easy to draw parallels with American Psycho, but then it all gets a little Faustian and Jekyll and Hyde and the viewer is left with the distinct impression that director Ryan (Botched) is merely borrowing heavily from other films. By the disappointing, anti-climactic dénouement (which is wrapped up all too conveniently) Dementamania is less of an allegorical conundrum and more like a big old mess.

Hel Jones is a Screenjabber contributor

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