Deviant: Gerard Lough (2008) by Matt Wavish

Directed by:
Written by:
Starring: ,


Gerard Lough was the man responsible for the quite brilliant Boogeyman which was based on the Stephen King story. Here, as far as I am aware, he is using his own ideas to make a short film that is highly disturbing and actually makes you think things you’d rather pretend don’t exist. The adjective to the word Deviant is Perverse and that is essentially what these 12 short minutes are all about, a pervert going about what seems to be his almost daily routine. The worrying thing, and probably most disturbing thing here is the ease and casualness to which this guy performs his need to sexual ecstasy. Honestly, these brief 12 minutes of footage are incredibly unsettling, and considering Lough is still only making short films, as with the Boogeyman, there is proof here of a serious talent in horror.

Whilst The Boogeyman got you thinking about the plot, the story and weather the guy in the Doctor’s chair was really imagining everything, Deviant take a more direct approach. I believe the only piece of dialogue in the film is a loud and aggressive bellow of “FUCK!!!!” Apart from that, not a word is said and the film is all the more better for it. Anyone who has seen the recent and stunning Amer will know that horror most certainly does not have to be about dialogue. You can tell a story with use of visuals, music and suggestion and Lough has mastered that here in a film that would not feel out of place if it had Argento’s name attached to it. I’m very aware of comparing Lough’s last film with Argento’s work, but in a good way, those influences are here too. What Lough has managed to do though is use the old style of horror with strong use of colours and sounds and bring it bang up today to feel both authentic and current. The use of a “hoodie” on the pervert cleverly tells us instantly that he is the bad guy, all dressed in black. At first you could argue that maybe it’s wrong to stereotype and it could be possible that the house he has just arrived at is his and for some reason he has a power cut? He arrives at the window; torch glowing through in a scene that immediately puts you on edge as you’re not sure what is going to come through the door and why. As he casually walks in and takes his shoes off, you start to relax and think “ah, maybe this guys ok”. Then you see he is wearing those rubber, hospital type gloves and you disturbingly realise that no, he is not a good person, he just has incredible confidence as he has been at this for a while.

Cleverly nothing is explained and the use of some truly dark and unsettling music drifts the film into a near dreamlike state, a nightmare if you will. As mentioned earlier, the use of colours are key to adding to the films atmosphere. The pervert takes his shoes off and casually sits in the front room of some unknown person’s house, filmed from the reflection of the mirror a strong blue is used to illuminate the entire room whilst outside it is night time and very dark. Everything becomes engulfed in bright blue until the pervert cracks open one of those liquid light sticks and this glows an incredibly strong orange. This now focuses your attention on what he is looking at, photos of one of the flatmates living here, a young woman and the clear reason for this guys visit. The guy masturbates over the girl’s photo, and suddenly we are in even darker territory and it’s apparent that this guy means business. The pervert  is played with unsettling ease by Michael Parle and just near the end we get to really see his face as he stares into the camera and it is a face of pure evil.

The girl he is watching is played by Fatima Fleming and even though we never really get to know her, we instantly feel for her and want this guy to leave her alone. As the pervert enters her room, a small wind blows decorations on her wall around as the man just stares at her. It is suggested he may go further, and watching it makes you feel pretty damned uncomfortable. You see some things from the pervert’s point of view, and while this is hard to watch, it is essential so that Lough can get the response he is clearly looking for, for you to be disgusted. What really sticks in the mind here though is the ease in which this guy gets in and does what he wants. It’s one of those things that is easy to brush off and say “yeh, never gonna happen to me” but I think this may be Lough’s point, or one of them. Do we really know what goes on in the shadows whilst we’re asleep? Can we really, honestly trust the fact that we are safe? The girl in this film believes she is. The other point I feel that is enforced here is the confidence and almost cockiness in today’s criminals. Yes the guy creeps around and runs off once disturbed, but the fact he did it in the first place and took the time to remove his shoes, to flick through photos and masturbate before finally actually going to look at the girl he is obviously obsessed with shows how normal it felt to him to do it. He feels he almost has a right to do it because in his own twisted little way, he possibly feels they have a connection. At home he draws picture of the girl and even draws pictures of her front room. It could be that Lough is saying that there are people out there, sick people who only have confidence when they have the upper hand and don’t have the ability to actually talk to girls. The guy is not a complete waste of space, he has a job running his own company (we find this out because the torch he uses has his company logo on it) and so it would seem that Lough is saying that people do exist, and we know they exist, that cannot strike up conversations with the opposite sex. The film does not suggest for one minute what he is doing is fair, but simply that they are there, lurking in the shadows and for any normal person watching, it’s a worrying thought.

But that’s the point with horror, it has to tread dangerous ground to be good and Lough expertly does that. The film never suggests what is right or wrong; it’s simply a statement of what can and does go on in today’s world of ever growing perverts and criminals who believe they are above the law. The sickening final shot of the guy possibly moving on to his next victim unsettles and disturbs by simply showing the guy stroll off into the dawn and then the camera pans over the house across from the field the guys in. Anyone of those houses could be his next victim. And it’s these shots of landscapes that really help conjure up a feeling of unease, something which Lough also pulled off in The Boogeyman. A fantastic shot of the moon covered by cloud is wonderful, as is a shot of wind turbines in a field accompanied by more dark and moody music. Lough’s skill in creating a mood is fantastic and he makes it look easy. The marriage of his brilliant camera shots and angles, his use of colours and detail  and the wonderfully dark, moody score by Cia Furlong as well as the brilliant use of just three actors and two locations come together to deliver a 12 minute nightmare that is powerful, thought provoking and unsettling. It’s a film I won’t forget in a hurry and a film that proves that it’s about time Lough was given the opportunity to make a full length film, I believe when that happens we could end up with something quite brilliant on our hands!

Rating: ★★★★★★★★☆☆

Matt Wavish
About Matt Wavish 10125 Articles
A keen enthusiast and collector of all horror and extreme films. I can be picky as i like quality in my horror. This doesn't necessarily mean it has to be a classic, but as long as it has something to impress me then i'm a fan. I watch films by the rule that if it doesn't bring out some kind of emotive response then it aint worth watching.

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