“Conformity is the key.
Put on the mask of a simple man and no one ever knows the difference.
Everyone is so concerned with how you see them that they never bother to see you.”
Coyote is that creepy weird piece of lonesome nastiness that you never knew you were looking for in a film.
The independent production made big waves on the festival circuit last year, and it will finally be available on DVD this month, on December 16th.
I first heard it described as “a nightmarish psychological horror that blends Taxi Driver with Videodrome“, which is as accurate a description as any. However, first time writer/director Trevor Juenger and independent horror icon Bill Oberst Jr. have created a main character so desperately lonely that he makes Travis Bickle look like an upstanding socialite.
A non-linear assault on the senses, it seems that the whole purpose is to keep the audience on edge and break taboos, which they succeed in greatly. Essentially a window into the mind of a man slowly losing his sanity, the confusion and horror is expertly conveyed with grotesque imagery, bizarre double takes, and inventive use of sound effects.
As a film about loneliness and desperation should be, the story is very sparsely populated, and the focus is directly on Bill as he slowly descends into a surreal madness. Bill Oberst Jr. is no stranger to playing dark roles like this (If you haven’t seen Circus of the Dead yet, do so right away!), and he proves himself to be a treasured gift to the horror genre with another fearless performance.
Right off the bat it is established that our protagonist is a strange sort, as he struggles over how to convey his happiness in a letter to his mother. In reality, he works a dreary job in a moving van, surrounded by darkness and negativity. The character seems to feed on this energy in a way, letting the evil around him slowly grow his own hidden darkness. He is also a struggling writer, who is plagued by vicious nightmares of being murdered in bed, leading him to believe in the mantra, “If I sleep, I will die.”
As time passes in a hazy surreal way, Bill realizes he is changing, but also seems powerless (or unwilling) to stop the change. He knows that his current form is only the pupal stage, that he began as a worm, and that he is evolving “for no reason at all“. The story is simple and fragmented, weaving in and out of dreams and visions, switching between bursts of violence to serene scenes of beauty. This is exactly what I look for in horror films, the simple chance to get lost in someone else’s madness for a while, and forget about my own for the running time.
Coyote is that rare intense film that you wont soon forget, a visually inventive and unflinching nightmare of madness and depravity. According to Bill Oberst Jr., Coyote is the same strange vision on film that it was on paper. It is available on DVD today December 16th 2014 from Wild Eye Releasing.