DreadWorld Review: 'My Name is 'A' by Anonymous' (2012/13)


It's been a long time since in needed a palette cleanser after watching a film. Hell, I almost feel like I need a shower after watching Shane Ryan's film My Name is A by Anonymous. I watch a lot of films, and haven't really felt the way I feel after watching a film since I saw Gregory Wilsons's The Girl Next Door. While The Girl Next Door was heartbreaking, despite all of it's violence and difficult subject matter, the film was at it's core, a love story. Ryan's film in comparison, has no silver lining. There is no sugar to help the medicine go down as they say. It's pure emotional brutality wrapped in an artful snuff film package that's genius and stomach churning all at the same time.

The film is based loosely on the true crime case of 15 year old Alyssa Bustamante, who abducted and murdered her 9 year old neighbor, Elizabeth. My Name is A interweaves three equally disturbing different narratives which converge in the end with Elizabeth's horrific death.

If you are familiar with Ryan's previous work, in particular the Amateur Porn Star Killer series, you know that Ryan has no problem jumping feet first into the exploitation sub-genre. This film is a whole different animal for Ryan however. Shooting the film with only first person, hand held devices, makes the film much more of a snuff film than anything Ryan has done previously. It gives the film much more of reality/dirty feel. This isn't a story being told by a film maker through a lens, this is you watching a story unfold without the filter of thinking it's "only a movie."

That tagline is rather appropriate since the closest relative I can think of to My Name is A is Wes Cravens classic Last House on the Left. While Ryan doesn't go for the blood and guts jugular the way Cravens film does, he captures and bottles the films aesthetic. Specifically the scene where Krug and Company's crimes come to head with the disembowelment of Phyliss. Imagine that scene continuing for an hour and a half, if not in gruesomeness but in energy and feel.

This film, much like most of Ryans films, was not made for mass public consumption. It deals with depression, rape, bulimia, child murder...and at times worse. That doesn't mean the film is not effective, it certainly is. Ryan is a master of pushing everything not just one or two frames too long, but at time minutes. There are several times during My Name is A that the uncomfortable feeling created by the film becomes almost too much to bear.

 
My Name is A by anonymous from Mad Sin Cinema on Vimeo.

Again, My Name is A is not going to be for everyone. It's certainly not a film that I am going to rush to see a second time. It is however deeply effective and unsettling. If you are the type of person who likes to challenge yourself when you watch a film, definitely check out My Name is A. If not, if cinema, even horror cinema, is strictly about entertainment for you, then you should probably skip this film.

**** stars out of *****

That's it for me. As always, thanks for reading, and "Enjoy every Sandwich."

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