Ciara O’Brien takes a look at a new Irish film making waves – Limp, written and directed by Shaun Ryan, an independent abstract horror about a lonely man in love with the corpse of a dead woman.
The horror genre has taken a bashing in recent years. There has always been underlying murmurs of hope for the genre as the ‘torture porn’ of yesteryear takes a backseat to a more sinister film. The Irish horror genre is one that has been whispering quietly throughout, producing excellent movies that somehow fade into the background. New indie offering Limp, however, attempts to take this whisper and turn it into a shout, making people sit back and take notice of an ignored genre by creating waves at the recent IndieCork Film Festival.
Written and directed by Shaun Ryan, Limp innocently claims to follow “the deterioration of a relationship told through the eyes of a man whose brain has been curdled by isolation.” The opening is stunning in its simplicity as a young boy tells a simple yet malevolent tale. Awkward and ignorant of social norms, our anti-hero Mr. Grot appears initially to be a simple caricature of horror. As the story builds in intensity, the masterful performance of Eoin Quinn follows suit and we are left with a different individual than we started out with. This is the true genius of this piece; nothing is ever what it seems. Limp consistently blurs the boundaries between what is real and what is imagined.
We quickly realize that Grot’s issues are more severe than we thought as he plays out an imagined relationship with a co-worker he has killed. As her condition deteriorates, the relationship he has created soon begins to crumble around him. A couple of the extraneous characters might seem to be superfluous but are later revealed as plot points in the greater narrative of Grot’s life. Real world relationships soon become less interesting. We witness love through the eyes of someone we find oddly charming, but probably don’t want to meet.
Towards the end of the film as Grot’s world is crumbling, multiple image layers and quick cuts are used to show how disorientating the world has become through his eyes. Visually this was the best moment in the movie and by drawing the audience back to the voice of the young boy the film wraps up perfectly. Limp is not a simple film, but a visceral experience, which is a testament to the amount of work and heart put into it.
What sets Limp apart from other films in the horror genre is that it purposely avoids slipping into gory madness. Limp gives a knowing nod to the genre at several points, convincing the audience that it is about to become the usual blood-stained massacre and then turns its back on it immediately. These moments are a necessary masterclass for all future horror writers.
Despite the problems all indie movies face, Crooked Creations present us with a believable protagonist and an intense feeling of abject horror. This is something that many big-budget Hollywood offerings often fail to do. A true indication that low-budget film can be just as good as anything Hollywood has to offer.