Directed by Harry Bartholomew, Alan Custer, Sam Mason-Bell, André Pedro, Rob Ulitski, Michael J. Epstein and Adam Nelson, written by Epstein, Nelson, Pedro, Ulitski and Shannon Katie Hopkins. An anachronistic public access TV channel plays host to a self-help guru with one goal: to scare viewers out of whatever addiction may be plaguing them. Featuring an anthology of eight different shorts focused on the darkest and most surreal side of addiction. Starring: Jamie Langlands, Antony Knight, Katt Pearson, Michael Feldsher, Annabella Rich, Seth Chatfield and several of the directors themselves.
Putting together an anthology is no easy task, creating a fluidly moving creature out of distinctly different pieces and this film has a varying level of success with that task. The majority of the shorts feel like they’re on the same page, focusing on a slightly warped version of reality and addiction, forcing their characters to truly face the consequences of their addictions. However, there are several that feel slightly unclear of their intentions or that they’re trying too hard to exemplify that surreal nature and taking away from their story. It also struggles slightly moving from one to the other, having the self-help guru does ease some of the transition but it can still feel jarring at times, jumping headfirst into different stories. It doesn’t feel as though there’s an overall energy or atmosphere bringing them together as one.
The writing feels more creative in some than others, creating some interesting consequences to the characters’ addictions. The shorts featuring gaming, drugs and over-eating bring more physical representations that show imagination and tackling those issues from a new perspective. The BDSM short feels slightly uncomfortable in how it uses techniques typically found in people who self-harm to express pleasure. While its overall intention is clear, it’s simply ground that would have been more respectful to avoid, there are plenty of other examples that could have been used. The pyromaniac short also felt too metaphorical and attempting something almost poetic, which by itself works but in the context of the anthology, it doesn’t fit in smoothly.
From a directorial point of view, the shorts work together well, they lean towards keeping close to their characters, forcing you inwards and adding a form of inescapability. They have that classic horror touch of playing around with the colour and forced angles to bring out some discomfort and fear. Each short brings a different style of horror, some are more traditional and others with a touch of humour but no one is the same.
I Am An Addict plays around with its theme in a creative and imaginative way, it tries to step outside the box of the traditional representation into something warped and surreal. As a whole it doesn’t always feel smooth or cohesive but the majority of the anthology works well together. There are a few pieces that feel they’re trying too hard or don’t hit the right note but you can see the intention to create something different and at times, experimental.