According to Wikipedia, “In computer and video games, sequence breaking is the act of performing actions or obtaining items out of the intended linear order, or of skipping “required” actions or items entirely. Sequence breaking is often used to beat a game unusually quickly, to beat it while only completing a few objectives or obtaining a few items, to obtain useful items early in the game, to make the game more difficult, or to help push a game as far as possible in some other way.” SEQUENCE BREAK, the new film from Graham Skipper (SPACE CLOWN) hits all of those and then some.
Oz (Chase Williamson JOHN DIES AT THE END, BEYOND THE GATES) is a reclusive technician repairing old arcade games for Jerry (Lyle Kanouse AUTO FOCUS). However when Tess (Fabianne Therese SOUTHBOUND, JOHN DIES AT THE END) enters his life and Jerry announces he’s going out of business at the same time a mysterious game appear at the shop reality becomes a very subjective and strange thing.
Showing as part of this year’s Fantasia Festival SEQUENCE BREAK is a solid venture into body horror. As an actor writer/director Skipper worked on Joe Begos homage to Cronneberg’s SCANNERS, THE MIND’S EYE, here he channel’s the master of body horror’s VIDEODROME with side orders of ALTERED STATES, TRON and even ORPHEUS. The result is a visually stunning an often surreal film that blurs the lines between man and machine, reality and hallucination, memory and fact. It’s a serious mind fuck that keeps you on the edge of your seat for the duration.
This is one of the few films to get the video-game footage to actually look like something you would have seen in an arcade and that goes a long way towards making the film believable. We accept the game as real and can buy into what it does to those who play it. In some ways it’s reminiscent of the Polybius urban legend but taken to another level. The film’s very authentic synth/eight bit soundtrack reinforces this feeling. The effects are a mix of practical.\, and where appropriate, obviously digital.
Trippy, thought provoking and creepy SEQUENCE BREAK is one to watch for on the festival circuit and once it gets distribution.