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I Can See You
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Critic's Choice
New York Post

"I CAN SEE YOU heralds a splendid new filmmaker with one eye on genre mechanics,
one eye on avant-garde conceits and a third eye for transcendental weirdness"

The New York Times

"Ultimately opting for Brakhage over butchery, this surprising horror debut hits us where it hurts
by turning vision itself into a mind-frying source of anxiety... the sensory disorientation
climaxes in a freakout that wipes all your troubles away,
as well as anything else lying around in your head."

The Village Voice

"without a doubt one of the most intriguing and well-crafted low-budget horror films in recent memory...
I CAN SEE YOU establishes Reznick as an exciting filmmaker who has the talent and potential
to provide a unique voice within the genre community."

Fangoria

"...a decidedly Lynchian spin as everyday normality goes grotesque.
Reznick's sound design effectively jangles nerves, and two setpieces trumpet his visual prowess...

could build a cult following."

Variety

   
NEW YORK TIMES by Nathan Lee | April 29, 2009 | link 

Campfire Horror, Through a Kaleidoscope

The low-budget horror film “I Can See You” has a plot as old as the hills — or at least as old as “The Hills Have Eyes.” A group of city slickers heads out to the country: trouble, madness and some very nasty bodily harm ensue.

But the twist — and this is a very twisty movie — is that the city folks are Brooklyn hipsters taking digital photographs for use in a marketing campaign, and the trouble they encounter has nothing to do with deranged mutant hillbillies.

What it does entail is open to interpretation. The multitasking filmmaker Graham Reznick (who wrote, directed, co-produced, edited and partly scored the movie) calls his debut “a psychedelic campfire tale,” which is as good a description as any for this elusive, experimental scare flick.

There are intimations of standard horror developments: Ben (Ben Dickinson) is afflicted by unnerving perceptual phenomena; Doug (Duncan Skiles) goes missing one night and later turns up mysteriously traumatized; a woman they meet (Heather Robb) suffers an equally inexplicable fate — and perhaps becomes a zombie.

Yet up to and including an overtly horrific climax, nothing can quite be pinned down, explained or identified. Rife with ominous close-ups, strange superimpositions, surrealistic digressions and a sound design that hints at all manner of inchoate terrors, the movie itself seems to be descending into a fearful, broken consciousness.

David Lynch is the key influence here, and Mr. Reznick proves himself a keen disciple of the master. “I Can See You” heralds a splendid new filmmaker with one eye on genre mechanics, one eye on avant-garde conceits and a third eye for transcendental weirdness.

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THE VILLAGE VOICE By Nicolas Rapold | Tuesday, April 28th 2009 at 3:35pm | link

Horror Flick I Can See You Opts For Brakhage Over Butchery

Ultimately opting for Brakhage over butchery, this surprising horror debut hits us where it hurts by turning vision itself into a mind-frying source of anxiety. The lengthy run-up is tedious and unpromising: A fledgling ad outfit—consisting of a drip, a menacing heel, and a frustrated painter—heads to the woods to brainstorm a pitch for a cleaning product, with a bored girlfriend in tow. Introduced dabbing at a portrait with no face, shy Ben (Ben Dickinson) gets lucky with a free spirit who turns up at a campfire gathering. He becomes the film's portal for fugue states of increasing intensity, amid the usual forest unease; the often grating humor and familiar oddities (a plastic-grin TV spokesman) feed viewer irritation, which turns out to aid the film's agenda. Working under Larry Fessenden's low-budget horror shingle, young director Graham Reznick is adept enough with sound and rhythm to incorporate, say, a borrowing of Lost Highway expressionism into his technique, which is self-enamored but effective. So much about this movie and its characters should be annoying, but the sensory disorientation climaxes in a freakout that wipes all your troubles away, as well as anything else lying around in your head.

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FANGORIA by Samuel Zimmerman | Wednesday, April 29, 2009 08:18 AM | link

Graham Reznick, resident sound designer for the films of Larry Fessenden’s Scareflix line, has stepped up to the plate and written, directed, produced and edited his own feature film, I CAN SEE YOU. Opening this week at New York City’s Cinema Purgatorio and arriving on DVD May 26 (joined in both showcases by Reznick’s 3-D short THE VIEWER), it is without a doubt one of the most intriguing and well-crafted low-budget horror films in recent memory.

Richards (Ben Dickinson), Doug (Duncan Skiles) and Kimble (Christopher D. Ford) are the creators of a small new marketing firm trying to catch their big break. It comes in the form of an opportunity to pitch an environmentally friendly ad campaign for the ClaraClean Company, a corporation whose number-one product is Claractix, a cleansing product that supposedly works wonders. Unsatisfied with their Internet searches for images of breathtaking forests and ultra-green pastures, Doug (the aggressive, sleazy, ultra-yuppie self-imposed leader) convinces Richards and Kimble that they all need to get in touch with nature by heading out for a weekend camping trip and take some beautiful photographs themselves.

The trio, along with Kimble’s girlfriend Sonia (Olivia Villanti)—who works for ClaraClean and set them up with the interview—hop in an SUV and call some friends for a Saturday-evening bonfire up in the woods. Richards, an artist/photographer and the quietest and most laid-back of the three, rekindles an interest in his hippie-ish friend Summer Day (Heather Robb) at the gathering, and manages to seal the deal, prompting her to stay the weekend and help the three after everyone else heads home. Once they actually start getting to work, Richards finds a problem with his camera; something is interfering with the photos, distorting the image. Soon, Doug and Summer Day are missing, and not only the pictures become blurry, but reality as well.

I CAN SEE YOU is not a film for everyone, but those who do check it out will find something special. We’ve all seen chillers centering on friends in the woods, and whether there’s a monster or slasher or they’re the villains themselves, it’s a worn-out subgenre. That’s where I CAN SEE YOU’s trippy aesthetics and playfulness with reality and perception come in and make it interesting. The stars of the film, beyond the leads, are Reznick himself and his cinematographer Gordon Arkenberg, who do standout work. The film looks and flows beautifully, proving that talent and creativity can totally trump a low budget. Their lensing of the bonfire and the intimacy between Richards and Summer Day has a sinister atmosphere that’s the hallmark of a strong director and cast coming together. Reznick’s pacing is directly in sync with its characters, and while the first half moves in a free and loose manner, it’s a pleasure to take in before things get unsettling.

Actually, things get unsettling pretty early as well, thanks in part to an odd cameo by executive producer Fessenden himself. Playing Mickey Hauser, the Billy Mays-like spokesperson for Claractix, he’s mostly seen in infomercial snippets, brightly showing off the cleaner in a powder-blue suit and shiny smile; if you thought people like Mays, Tony Little and the “Sham-Wow” guy were disturbing, just imagine Fessenden putting his own stamp on that type of personality. The film is worth seeing for his brief appearances alone.

All three leads, though, contribute excellent performances and ground the film, since it’s a good bet we all know people exactly like this. Dickinson warrants special mention: The film is totally his character’s journey, and watching him deal with the effects of what’s happening sells the more bizarre sequences. These include a musical number by Skiles that, via Reznick’s direction, takes on an air of disconcerting David Lynch surrealism rather than out-of-place camp. Villanti and Robb, while not on screen terribly long, definitely make their presences known. Especially Robb, whose Summer Day is the embodiment of the cute, ultracreative, “wherever the wind takes her” hippie chick we all wish we could be with. For a psychedelic, surreal film of this kind to work, you have to buy into the characters and want to know where the journey, no matter how much dread is permeating the air, will take them. At this, I CAN SEE YOU is immensely successful.

Delving any further would unfortunately require spoilers, and while there’s no serious twist at the end, the resolution should definitely remain untold. It’s best to enter I CAN SEE YOU without much knowledge or expectations, but allowing yourself to be open for the ride, letting it work its magic on you. It’s a small film that will hopefully find a following on DVD after its limited theatrical run, and boasts the special quality of being worth revisiting. It warrants discussion and sharing your thoughts about it, and you may well want to re-experience it to get a firmer grasp in subsequent viewings.

I CAN SEE YOU establishes Reznick as an exciting filmmaker who has the talent and potential to provide a unique voice within the genre community. Here’s hoping he makes more creative and stimulating horror flicks in the years to come.

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VARIETY by Ronnie Scheib | Mon., May 4, 2009, 7:19pm PT | link

In Graham Reznick's low-budget debut chiller, "I Can See You," produced under the aegis of fright maven Larry Fessenden, horror is purely in the eye of the beholder -- in this case, a myopic artist-cum-advertising photographer with father issues. A bunch of city-slicker friends camping out in the woods, the hoary setup of innumerable scarefests, is granted a decidedly Lynchian spin as everyday normality goes grotesque. Atmospheric audio fills each leaf and branch with nameless menace, while superimpositions and slow dissolves trace a psychological slide toward disintegration. Critically lauded pic, which bowed April 29 in Gotham, could build a cult following.

Launching their new advertising agency via environmentally toxic cleaning product Claractix, three young New Yorkers (Ben Dickinson, Duncan Skiles, Christopher D. Ford) venture into nature to capture images of purity. But the televised ghost of Claractix's long-lost 1950s spokesperson (played with eerily cheery insistence by Fessenden) haunts the film, morphing into disturbing images of more familiar demons. Reznick's sound design effectively jangles nerves, and two setpieces trumpet his visual prowess: a languid lovemaking scene lit by indirect flashlight and a tour-de-force musical number that grows increasingly horrific.

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Bitter Feast | Stake Land | Hypothermia
I Sell the Dead | I Can See You | Trigger Man | Automatons | The Roost | The Off Season