Sunday, May 3, 2015

Drink Me (2015)

Drink Me is a suspense film about a gay couple who takes in a lodger after one of them loses his job. It stars Darren Munn as Andy, Emmett Friel as James and Chris Ellis Stanton as Sebastian, the man who comes to stay with them.

The film opens with this line across the screen: “He who is thirsty dreams he is drinking,” a reference to a biblical passage from the book of Isaiah. The first image then is a row of red telephone booths, at a slightly odd angle, with a man approaching. He wears a red hoodie to match the booths, the screen dominated by that bright color. One phone rings. The man steps inside the booth to answer, and someone grabs him from behind. It seems impossible, but it turns out to be a nightmare, so it’s all right. Then during the opening credits sequence, we see two men showering together. These opening shots really tell you what you’re in for. If you're a big fan of dream sequences, odd camera angles and male nudity, then you’ll love this film. Otherwise, probably not.

Andy and James are celebrating their anniversary in their new house, and James proposes marriage. So apparently the anniversary they are celebrating is something other than a wedding anniversary. But Andy reveals that he lost his job the previous day, that his whole department is being let go, and so they can’t afford a wedding. Andy continues to have nightmares, and in each of them he is wearing his red hoodie. Meanwhile there are shots of a man in a grey hoodie jogging and then walking at night, while some eerie music plays.

James has a job, though we never see what it is he does. Mostly what we see him do (when he’s not having sex with Andy) is jog in the woods. Some of the dialogue about James’ work seems a bit awkward, not giving the impression that these two have been together for any real length of time. It just doesn’t feel familiar enough. But it quickly leads to them fooling around anyway. A lot of stuff leads to them fooling around. Anyway, James wants to talk about their budget, and he suggests taking in a lodger until Andy gets a new job. Enter Sebastian. When introduced, Sebastian is asked by James if he wants a drink, and Andy tells him, “He said he wasn’t thirsty.” So right away we associate thirst with this new, strange character. Sebastian says he works the night shift, and is evasive about what exactly it is he does, and though he's creepy, the guys almost immediately invite him to live with them.

This film has quite a bit of bad dialogue. After James and Andy fuck again, Andy says, “I'm scared.” James asks, “And what is scaring you?” Andy replies, “I don't want things to change.” James tells him: “Well, it looks like things have to change. Soon enough, you'll have a new job and things will go back to normal.” But what makes him think that Andy will have a job? He doesn't apply for any jobs. He doesn't make any calls, or answer any ads. And why doesn’t Andy apply for a new job? At one point, a friend calls to offer him a job interview for a receptionist position at a hotel, and it seems he puts all his hope into that one job prospect. But why didn’t he ask his previous employer for recommendations and contacts in his field, whatever that might be? Why is a lodger the rational choice for these two?

Sebastian makes a request of Andy, but the film cuts before we know what it is. But whatever it is, Andy seems off afterwards. Andy then comes into the bathroom while Sebastian is in the shower, claiming he forgot that Sebastian was there.

There are more nightmares, in which Andy wears his red hoodie, and both James and Sebastian wear grey hoodies. And in the morning Andy discovers Sebastian’s dirty laundry, which Sebastian had conveniently and very oddly left on the kitchen counter, a bloody hoodie on top. Who puts his dirty laundry on the kitchen counter? Weird vampire-like lodgers, that’s who. Well, Andy gets nervous and clutches a conveniently placed butcher knife, cutting himself in the process. Sebastian kisses the cut, and that apparently eases Andy's mind, for he doesn't mention the bloody sweatshirt.

Andy, now in a red T-shirt, follows another guy who is also in a red shirt. And there is more red in every frame – in the storefronts, the brick homes and so on. But Andy is not wearing a hoodie, so is this not a dream? He follows the guy all the way home, which seems like something you might do in a dream. And the guy is either amazingly unaware, or aware but interested. Meanwhile James comes home to find Sebastian waiting for him with one glass of wine, which he offers to James. “There’s plenty more where that came from,” he says. So not a limited edition wine, then.

We see a poster for a missing man, which is funny because very early on there was a similar poster for a missing cat. So the two are equated in our minds, maybe both as missing pets. It seems to be the guy that Andy followed. Later there is another missing person poster, this one of a woman named Jackie, whom I'm fairly certain hasn't been in the film at all. She really is missing. Oddly, this poster is on a tree deep in the woods where no one is likely to see it, so clearly her family isn't really all that interested in having her found.

Anyway, if Andy has his red hoodie on, it’s a dream. If he has his red T-shirt on, it’s a dream-like state, but seems to actually be happening. And if he’s in his blue bathrobe, it means he’s in his normal, unemployed state. But what does it mean when he leaves home wearing shorts but returns wearing pants? Later in the film he dreams of himself in his blue bathrobe, breaking the pattern. And at one point he wakes from a dream and puts on his red hoodie. So the switch signifies that his dreams have become reality, and his reality has shifted to dream.

And at one point there is a bunny mask. Why? Why not? There is also a music box that Andy finds and which doesn't play any part whatsoever in the plot. But it plays “Mockingbird,” which isn't such a bad song. This film is more about atmosphere and mood than substance, and includes plenty of male nudity, including a scene of a nude man caressing a tree for some reason. It’s more about odd camera angles than interesting dialogue or character development. But the atmosphere is quite effective at times. You can get sucked into the mood of the thing and forget that nothing has really happened.

By the way, with eight minutes left in the film, James asks about Andy’s job interview, and immediately we learn that Andy didn’t go to the interview. But who cares at this point?

(Note: I posted a slightly different, shorter version of this review on Pop Culture Beast.)