An affected, carefully engineered extended music video of macabre weirdness, The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears (2013) is Belgian arthouse horror that’s trying very hard to look like it was made in Italy in the 1970s. It’s your standard apartment-complex-full-of-ghastly-mysteries scenario, wherein a man (Klaus Tange) returns from a business trip to find his wife has vanished. His investigation leads him from floor to floor in his building, encountering all manner of odd, bleak horrors, that might in fact add up to something. I’m not sure, because I stopped caring about halfway through.
This is a loving homage to dark arthouse creepfests of the past. Its groovy soundtrack and sensibility conjures the Italian technicolor horror movies of the 1970s, but run through a more sophisticated filter of derivative David Lynchisms. Audio-visual experimentation abounds. The film and sound editing is rapid-fire and unsettling. There are artsy closeups of eyeballs and mouths and lit cigarettes and hair follicles. Sinister sound effects, shocking cuts, surprising violence, arbitrary nudity, and confusing, half-coherent scene-building are abundant. In other words, it contains scads of tasty arthouse horror ingredients, if you’re into that sort of thing. Unfortunately, the ingredients aren’t particularly well blended; the occasional bite has a pleasant flavor, but the dish is ultimately bland.
It’s quite possible this one has an ingenious shape to its random-feeling construction, that upon careful scrutiny its affected, careful cinematography might be deconstructed to reveal some brilliant endgame. But, if that’s the case, I couldn’t tell you what it is; I lost patience with the film long before that conclusion could be reached.