Cult director Shane Carruth’s long-awaited second film is a brilliantly executed, vertiginously fast-paced zombie-horror-thriller with slight traces of the drama and mystery genres.
The surreal approach and thrilling cascades of images follow a narrative trajectory that relies on a complex, intense atmosphere. A man is breeding maggots in compost. He forces a young woman, Kris, to eat them. In a trice, the woman falls into an apathetic state, as if drugged. Her torturer disappears, and a pig breeder arrives on the scene. The man, who is also a composer, undertakes a bizarre surgical transfer between Kris and a pig. By chance she meets Jeff, who has had the same experience. The life of this couple spins completely out of control until they track down the man responsible for their misery. It transpires that there are other victims of these disturbing experiments.
»I felt like daily I was running into this idea that a conversation I would be having with somebody was boiling down to their talking points versus my talking points. We were just matching them up, and it wasn’t a conversation; it was just mushing together our identities and seeing what the end result was, then we’d go our separate ways. So that’s where it started, this idea of how much of our behavior is forming our identity, and how much of our identity is just controlling our behavior, and whether there’s much that can be done about that.«
- Shane Carruth
Born in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, the US, in 1972, Carruth’s debut film Primer won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. Upstream Color is his second film.