Do Not Disturb, 2022
Directed by John Ainslie.
Starring Kimberly Laferriere, Rogan Christopher, Janet Porter, Christian McKenna, Rupinder Nagra, Patrick McNeil, Trish Rainone, Jimmie Chiverelli, Rebeka Herron.
Love is all consuming in this narcotic nightmare crafted by writer/director John Ainslie. Do Not Disturb is a psychedelic exploration of love, lust and carnal desire.
Sometimes horror stories don’t involve ghosts, monsters and jump scares, but are built up between the toxic feelings two people feel toward each other. In director John Ainslie’s Do Not Disturb, newly married couple Chloe and Jack are on a not-so-romantic honeymoon that gets amplified through lots of drug use that pushes the pair over the edge into very gruesome territory as new, bloody avenues are opened to them. The result is a well-shot, darkly comedic story that only gets more bloody the further Chloe and Jack descend on their drug trip.
Lead stars Kimberly Laferriere and Rogan Christopher give nice performances as Chloe and Jack as the pair try – with little effort from either of them – to close the gap in their relationship and rekindle whatever romance they once had. There is an intentional lack of chemistry between the characters which Laferriere and Christopher play off as they either avoid their relationship problems or address them in the completely wrong ways. The only time they seem even remotely compatible is when they do drugs, ironically as a means to escape their troubled relationship.
Ainslie employs a slow build to the story as the first half focuses on Chloe and Jack’s problems and their early drug trips with a vacationing swinging couple. The slow build works in his favour as the fractures grow with Chloe and Jack, letting us see how things could possibly get so crazy and dark for them in the film’s second half. A new brand of peyote really opens them up to new urges, mostly violent and lustful which eventually turns into cannibalism. There is plenty of blood and gore to satisfy horror fans, but the balance between the story’s psychological horror and gruesomeness is Do Not Disturb‘s largest appeal.
When things do get dark and twisted, the cinematography is taken up a notch with how Ainslie and cinematographer Scott McIntyre utilize Chloe and Jack’s drugged perspectives as well as the passage of time. The visuals get quite creative and sometimes humourous, such as when the pair notice the sudden appearance of several plates with food scraps after lamenting how starved they are and don’t even remember eating.
Laferriere in particular does a great job showcasing Chloe’s darker nature in how she changes the tenor of her voice, facial expressions and mannerisms as she asserts more control in their bloodlust. Christopher, meanwhile, takes Jack on an opposite path, portraying Jack becoming more lost with himself and further relying on the drugs. The parallel development they take over the course of the film is interesting by examining how toxic they are for each other and what the peyote reveals to them.
Ainslie’s Do Not Disturb turns into a fun, macabre ride full of dark humour and bloody gore as he explores the toxic effects Chloe and Jack leave on each other and those around them. Laferriere and Christopher are great as the lead pair and seem to have a lot of fun reveling in the bloody carnage of their drug trip. The cinematography offers creative visuals for Chloe and Jack’s drugged perspectives and the make-up and props for their bloody celebrations are quite good. The film’s uniqueness sets it apart from other horror fare and adds to its charm.
Flickering Myth Rating – Film: ★ ★ ★ ★ / Movie: ★ ★ ★ ★
Ricky Church – Follow me on Twitter for more movie news and nerd talk.