29 September 2008 @ 16:14Sidewalk 2008 Review: Pop Skull

Pop Skull
Directed by: Adam Wingard
Starring: Hannah Hughes, Lane Hughes and Maggie Henry


Daniel suffers from many problems. He’s going through a gut-wrenching breakup from his ex-girlfriend. There are unresolved spirits in his house that haunt him continually. His friends seem generally clueless, and he has an addiction to over-the-counter drugs, all of which cause him to hallucinate wildly.


Pop Skull was the movie that I anticipated the most during Sidewalk Film Festival 2008. The premise sounded like a good setup for nightmarish horror – some truly surreal terror. Unfortunately, the director mixed all of these ingredients into a self-described “psychedelic horror” movie. 


What does that mean? Well, there are many, many strobing light and film-loop effects, film juxtaposition, strange noises throughout, shaky camera and sudden jolts, lack of any coherent plot and the feeling that you might just suffer a hangover from viewing Pop Skull. It’s not creepy, profound or unnerving – just dull and repetitive. 

I’ve been a fan of Wingard’s work in short film for several years now, especially The Little One and The Girlfriend. Pop Skull is his second feature-length film and it feels like 10 minutes of material stretched to 86 minutes. This is one of the best ideas with poorest executions in recent memory. Several times in the latter half of the movie I was praying for one of the many fades-to-black to be the one that signified the end of the film. 


That being said, Adam Wingard is a truly gifted director with a unique vision for the horror genre. While I don’t recommend Pop Skull, I do think that he is a talented director. Check out his short films.

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