WRITTEN REVIEW: The Horror At Gallery Kay

Everyone knows how difficult it is to meet new people and to form a meaningful relationship. The dating game is a mine field littered with all sorts of books, blogs, online services and apps geared to aid in the dating quest. But what's harder than finding love, is paying the price to keep it.

And this struggle is what concerns Petra and Olive – a lesbian couple - who are at odds regarding their relationship. Petra, Maine Anders, feels that it has run it's course. Allowing common relationship roadblocks like money become an excuse to part ways. Olive, Rosebud, on the other hand, is desperately trying to convince Petra that there is more to their relationship. Olive sees their relationship not as two beings who co-exist in a shared space peacefully, but as two beings so well connected and encapsulated by the shared space that they almost become one single being.

This is a fascinating way to explain two common and relatable takes on relationships.

In a last ditch effort to save what they have, Olive convinces Petra to join her for a session of couples therapy with Dr. Bozill, Brian Silliman. Bozill starts by asking Perta how she and Olive met, and she reveals that it was during a “dactyl” (a poetry term describing a pattern of syllables, but in this case it's a name of a storytelling/poetry collective) performance. Petra's spoken word weaves a tale about a strange experience she once shared while riding the subway. Her experience was a gimps behind the curtain at something unusual and unknown.

To avoid spoiling too much of the film's mystery I won't go into much more detail about Petra's strange encounter. As Bozill continues to council the couple, we learn a little more about each of them and their similar, yet unique take on their relationship. Bozill starts to unlock parts of the couple, while slowly and unknowingly marching them closer to something ancient and forgotten. Reminiscent of any number of H. P. Lovecraft stories.

As The Horror At Gallery Kay works to it's inevitable conclusion, Bozill challenges the couple to reconcile. But can they save their relationship while also saving themselves?

This film's description reads; “An estranged couple’s therapy appointment reveals the existence of a hidden world.”, and yeah, that's what it's about, and then so much more.

The Horror At Gallery Kay plays as an allegory for the LGBTQ community itself, as our couple in question are lesbians who learn of a long forgotten race of people who are doomed to dwell in darkness below the surface and who are desperate to be recognized. To be seen. It's an understatement to say that the LGBTQ community (or minorities in general) have had a desire to be seen and accepted for decades, and even longer. Many of whom live out their lives in silence. Always hiding that part of who they are, deep down below the surface.

Aside from being subtly relevant, this film is an EXCELENT example of what a talented cast and crew can accomplish with a minim amount of resources. The entire film focuses on four characters, it takes place in two locations (four if you count two brief flashbacks) and is filmed in beautiful black & white. It is dialogue driven with expertly delivered lines. Each of the film's key players have their opportunity to shine and they shine bright with moments of sadness, anger, levity and touching sincerity.

Maine Ander's recitation of Petra's dactyl doesn't only prove considerable acting skill, but it's a well told spooky story. It could have only been better if it was told in person while sitting around a campfire. And as for the story itself, it eludes to what I called “unusual and unknown” and Lovecraft-ian. What is described sounds fantastic and while I WANTED to see it, I never felt that I HAD to see it. It's description was just enough to put my imagination to work. Showing it would have only distracted from the film's emotional tension.

The Horror At Gallery Kay is as socially relevant as The Shape of Water and as unnerving as a Lovecraft tale told by Rod Serling.

The Horror At Gallery Kay is currently touring the festival circuit. If you have the opportunity - watch it! Visit The Horror At Gallery Kay for more info.


★ ★ ★ ★