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Directed by Elias
Written by Elias
Starring Nicholas Wilder, Tristan Risk, Dee Wallace, Sarah Schoofs, D’Angelo Midili, Bill Oberst Jr., Andrew Sensenig
From the creator of the tension filled film GUT, Elias returns with AYLA, another somber and morose descent into madness. Sporting very little room for any kind of humor to release the suspense built, this is a story that forces you to face those uncomfortable thoughts, fears, and notions you think of in the dark and don’t dare talk about to others. Once again, Elias offers up a brave and harrowing look inside an unwell mind in AYLA.
Nicholas Wilder plays Elton, a neurotic man obsessed with his dead sister Ayla who died when he was a child. Elton wonders what she would look like as an adult and even entertains theories of how to bring her back. Elton believes in this so much that he apparently does bring his sister back to life as an adult (played by Tristan Risk). After recovering her body from the roots of a tree in the middle of a deep forest, Elton brings Ayla home with him to his family; his mother (played by Dee Wallace) and brother (D’Angelo Midili). Being rational human beings, they have difficulty believing that this is their long lost Ayla, but Elton is convinced despite the fact that Ayla doesn’t talk much, vomits a lot, and you know, was born from a tree in the middle of the woods.
AYLA is a dead serious and downright morose film about not being able to cope with loss. Elton’s life completely revolves around the loss of his sister. He sleepwalks through his life only half participating. He has a girlfriend (played by GUT’s boppy redhead Sarah Schoofs), but pays very little attention to her and even less so once his obsession begins to take form in the reborn Ayla. The somber tone is going to be a deal breaker for those who don’t really like introspective descents into the abyss that take plenty of time. But if you don’t mind trying on the psyche of an unwell person, AYLA is going to be a fascinating little film. Personally, I have to be in the right mood for this type of film. It is humorless and extremely dark; giving the “hero” what he desires and then making him insane because of it. If you can digest this type of unconventional, joyless horror narrative, then by all means, dive in. But this is art house horror that won’t appetize some. Reminiscent of early Cronenberg and sporting some pretty gory and psychosexual material, AYLA is another all too human arthouse nightmare from Elias, a filmmaker who seems to have a lot of dark stuff up his sleeve.
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