3.5 Stars
Year Released: 2013
MPAA Rating: Unrated
Running Time: 95 minutes
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It’s been 30 years since anyone went to sleep and had a dream, but things are about to change when a new product, Fantasites, hits the market. A parasitic worm that you place in your ear, the Fantasites work their way into your brain and suddenly you’re able to dream, and fantasize, again. Which is really only part of the appeal for apartment maintenance man Charles (John Ferguson).

Socially awkward and more than a little weird, Charles admires tenant Reed’s (Shane O’Brien) professional job and demeanor. He also admires Reed’s girlfriend, June (Jes Mercer). When Charles realizes that, like practically everyone else around, Reed is ordering and using Fantasites, he decides to order them himself… with poor results. Turns out Reed’s orders are of a more premium strain, and Charles decides that his only option is to swap out Reed’s worms with his lower quality ones.

Things for Reed start to go downhill, but Charles’ life is looking up. He’s made friends with June, and they’re getting along great, and it’s wonderful to dream and fantasize again. Except now there are reports of Fantasites side effects, and the government is stepping in to investigate whether they truly are a benefit, or a danger.

Worm is a curious film, one that plays with numerous ideas and tones. In the beginning, it’s almost like a goofy romantic comedy. Charles is an odd duck, and there’s something “off” about June too.

But then the film turns, as the Fantasites do their thing. The storyline starts to go darker, as the use of Fantasites becomes more like a drug addiction. Now we’re watching a drama unfold, with elements of criminality, like a parasite-infused Trainspotting. And then the film gets even darker.

It’s a tonal rollercoaster ride, one that ends up somewhere pretty gruesome, especially in comparison to where it all started out. It’s a risky move to gear shift so strongly within a film, but Worm pulls it off. It works because the filmmakers make all the progressions and changes natural.

Because it is exactly like an addiction to a drug, and changes in personality and life can be quite severe in those circumstances, often in stark contrast to where things were in the beginning. Usually there’s that “how did I get here!?!” moment, and Worm shows us precisely how things happened, for both our individual subjects and society at large.

On the filmmaking side of things, the production looks slick and, more importantly, is entirely believable. When news casts or TV programs are used to give insight on the current status of the Fantasites craze, they don’t appear false and unconvincing. You could imagine all of this happening today with any “great benefit becomes great danger” story.

Overall, Worm is an exceptional film that masters its diverse mix of tone, proving its storytellers to be both ambitious and skilled. For all its science-fiction leanings, it hits home because of how close to reality those ideas can be. It’s a dark tale, but a worthy one.

This film was submitted for review through our Submission for Review system. If you have a film you’d like us to see, and we aren’t already looking into it on our own, you too can utilize this service.

Posted on July 24, 2013 in Reviews by

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