June 24, 2013
Brittney Saylor as Monica
Michael Coon as Kevin
Jim Foreman as Jordan
P.J. Woodside as Faith
Sometimes less is more. Most film buffs can appreciate an attempt at complex storytelling, but the fact of the matter is, a shitty story is going to leave a nasty streak in the mind and identifying a shitty story isn’t difficult. It doesn’t matter how many left turns the audience is forced to navigate, we can run around in circles forever, it’s not going to confuse us so much that we forget the picture unraveling before us is absolutely repulsive. In the case of Lucid it’s also horrendously boring, as unclear as a foggy day in a cold coastal city and repetitive unlike anything you’ve ever seen.
The story follows Monica and Kevin, a young couple working on a young relationship. Kevin’s a patient little guy, but Monica really is a lunatic. She has some issues with sleep, frequently sleepwalking and even worse, murdering men while doing so. Her last boyfriend caught an arrow to the eye, and Kevin’s been on the cusp of demise more than a time or two. So Monica seeks help from Dr. Aaron Knight, a man who’s known for specializing in sleep troubles. But Aaron isn’t such a mastermind, he’s just a charismatic puppet who serves as the face of a company fueled by the mad genius of Faith, Aaron’s wife. And Aaron’s wife is tired of sitting in the backseat for the operation. What better way to dispose of the smug bastard than to manipulate Monica into killing him?
To say that the provided synopsis is infinitely clearer than the mush we see onscreen is a tremendous understatement. For the first half of the film we’re subjected to repeated dream sequences, but we don’t even realize it. Aesthetically there’s often zero difference between dreams and reality. In fact, it’s easy to not even catch the fact that we’re watching a dream scene unfold. I was confused for 45 minutes before it finally clicked, hey, those remarkably confusing random-as-all-hell moments were actually dreams! But if the first 45 minutes were a shoddy mess, the second half of the flick was really, really convoluted. We’re talking flat-out confusing and nearly incomprehensible mumbo jumbo that seems to be stuck on repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat. You see how tough that is to deal with? It’s a lot like a modified rendition of Chinese torture, and so is Lucid. What’s worse is the actual finale, which feels as though it plays out over the course of a full 30 minutes, when in truth about 10 are probably required to relay the message in clear fashion. Just when you think this nightmare is about to end, five more minutes of the same crap replays itself, before echoing that practice a few more times. It takes so long to get to the credits (by the way, even the credits drag endlessly. I’m not shitting you, everyone who appears in this film, be it for a half-second, cut scene or the whole dreadful stretch of final product earns a credit, everyone; even the hundred or so people sitting in an audience are individually credited!), that an atheist would take to praying for an end.
Even beyond the screenplay, Lucid is loaded with technical misfires. None of the performers are prepared to tackle major roles yet. That’s something that can be overlooked, sometimes the budget just doesn’t permit marquee and seasoned acquisitions. These youngsters give it a go, but the truth is, they were doomed long before filming began. If that screenplay didn’t twist their minds into hopeless pretzels, the production probably had them totally overheating and malfunctioning. The editing is a nightmare, the transitions neither smooth nor fluid and the sound is inconsistent enough to drive a longtime musician (that’s me, by the way) up a wall and back down again. The production as a whole is just… all over the place. Lucid feels as though it’s got no talent whatsoever attached, and that’s never a good thing. Save for a few eerie shots in the latter portions of the film this is something of a trainwreck.
Tearing a movie apart isn’t fun. It’s not a pleasant feeling. There’s no joy in it, there’s no form of glory in it. There’s just nothing pleasant about writing a review of this nature. But revealing (what I believe to be) the truth is important, not just for the sake of potential viewers but for the sake of those involved in the production as well. If there’s room for improvement, we’ve got to hammer those areas home in the hopes the targeted crew will take those harsh words and invest some thought in them. Go back to the drawing board, work on strengthening your weaknesses and overcoming any deficiencies. I’ve never made a feature film, but that’s because I’m not prepared to do so in the proper fashion. If it’s not yet time, it’s not yet time. Lucid is really, really premature. Everyone involved needed to bury their heads and pick things up more than a notch or two before beginning work on this one.