The horror genre is a vast spectrum made up of tons of mini sub-genres. There are your straight-forward slasher flicks and your creature features. Then there are the more difficult ones to wrap your head around; The ones that don’t quite fit into any one category. That is, at least for me, what can be said about Adrian Corona’s Dis.
An ex-soldier is taking refuge in the woods, where he is one day attacked by a mysterious figure. The figure uses the soldier as just another way to feed the plants in its mandrake garden…
The first thought that struck me as I began watching this film is how beautiful everything is. Now, the subject matter is not beautiful. No, it is actually quite the opposite of anything resembling that of beauty. What I’m referring to is the gorgeous forest landscapes and, even more so, the overall quality and aesthetic.
Many of the low-budget films that I have encountered over the last couple of months have ranged in quality, some even similar to something that I could have shot in my own bathroom. Dis, on the other hand, is of the highest caliber and I commend writer and director Adrian Corona for that accomplishment.
The impressive aesthetic is not all that Dis has going for it, however. Bill Oberst Jr. has over 180 acting credits to his name with over 20 films still being listed as in pre- or post- production. He is one of the hardest working performers in independent film and his love for the horror genre shows with every film he makes.
I have been a long time fan of Oberst and get excited every time I see his name mentioned for another role. His performance in Dis just further proves that my excitement is very much validated. His portrayal of ex-soldier with a shady past, Ariel Monk, is fantastic. Even with very little dialogue, Oberst is able to put on an award-winning performance of the most macabre kind. He was put through hell on the set of Dis, as was all cast and crew members, but an effective horror flick was still created.
Dis is Adrian Corona’s take on the mythical and powerful history of the mandrake plant (known in Latin as the Mangradora). It is featured in stories from the Bible, Greek mythology, and many other sacred writings. Said to have both mystical and hallucinogenic powers, the mandrake plant is certainly one with a rich history. This just happens to be one sinister take on the idea of its darker origins.
Adrian Corona and directory of photography, Rodrigo “Rocco” Rodriguez, are true masters of filmmaking. They have created a viscerally gorgeous film and even with black and white scenes, were able to do things with lighting and framing that seems like a lost art in independent movies presently.
If you are a fan of horror films that are somewhat open-ended, leaving you to your own imagination, Dis is one you don’t want to miss. It is very deserving of its 7 award wins and 8 nominations, and at only 60 minutes long, it is more than worth your time.
Dis is available now on Blu-ray and DVD from Unearthed Films, so pick up a copy today!
I give this film 4 squealing pigs out of 5.