A Trippy Coming-Of-Self Flick Bathed In Blood [Fantasia Fest 2023]


Blood becomes a gushing symbol that connects scene after scene, staining a young adult’s maturation while tinting lights in an alarming crimson hue. Blood is thick, viscous, and often oozing from holes that characters prod with their fingers, as stickiness drips from anything from frosted birthday cakes to moist soil like bubbling oil. Reeder bathes “Perpetrator” in blood but not always as a horrific accent, nor meant to be feared. It’s an aesthetic goop that flows a vampiric decor around Jonny’s journey, accentuating syrupy visuals akin to macabre baptisms like a headrush of reddened stylization shaped by Reeder’s excitement.

From the stalk-and-snatch introduction, “Perpetrator” is brazenly feminist. Jonny and her companions are made to be the more rational characters, surrounded by adults who endanger, belittle, and blame or shame their existence. Principle Burke (Christopher Lowell) seems to draw pleasure from “killing” girls during mandatory school shooting drills, while Hildie’s witchy and sometimes standoffish demeanor beguiles her houseguest. Jonny and her friends are left to fend against the town’s lurker themselves, while their male counterparts represent the epitome of performative allyship. Reeder has no intention to feign subtlety — that’s a blessing and a curse.

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