The Man in the Orange Jacket
A young man is fired from his job at the sea port and begins to stalk his boss and his beautiful wife. After a blood chilling turn of events, he attempts to escape his past by moving into the lavish mansion previously owned by his boss. The embittered young man tries to assume a new identity and lead a luxurious life, but nothing will prepare him for an unsettling visit by a vaguely familiar guest. After that unnerving encounter, the house will no longer be a safe haven, becoming, instead, a twisted and dangerous trap haunted by menacing spirits.
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★★★★★ review by SmokingPizza on Letterboxd
I'd been wanting to watch this one for awhile and I was so glad I was finally able to tonight.
From what I've read the norm in Latvian cinema is mostly comedy and drama, so for a horror film to come along and reawaken/revive/create a standing effort in the genre where it is basically non-existent is both innovative and rewarding. It's nothing special really, the plot being somewhat disjointed, but it's powerful in the way slow-burn horrors are, while watching this films such as High Tension and The House of the Devil came to mind, as well as films like The Shining but more subtly. And maybe even with nods to such films as The Toolbox Murders, or even The Tell-Tale Heart by Poe, but this is all just personal viewpoint/speculation. The film is heavy with impending uneasiness and dread, with a score set nicely with brooding eeriness, and the killer sadistic enough to please.
Honestly, it's probably the type of film M. Night Shyamalan lays awake at night thinking of making, and if only he had the patience with minimalism like this director then maybe one day he'd have something like this. Graceful pacing in its short run time and strong with its cinematography, it builds a nice tension throughout. Really pulling us back and forth. I appreciate a brave move like using minimal dialog and, at times, arthouse style atmosphere to plant your films feet even more. Most of what goes on appears just on the surface but there's a layering to it (metaphorically) which made some scenes stand out among others, and which if paid close enough attention to makes the ambiguous seem a bit clearer by the time its over.
Latvia may bring us more horror in the future but for now this film stands alone and is the stepping stone for aspiring genre enthusiasts not just there but anywhere in the world.
★★★★ review by Jason M on Letterboxd
What happens after a murderous home invasion? That is the question Armenian born director Aik Karapetian asks in his debut film The Man in the Orange Jacket, a low key, intriguing horror drama.
After being sacked from his job at the harbor, Dan [Maxim Lazarev] walks straight to his former bosses house, breaks in and murders both him and his wife. Normally this would be the climax or a midpoint, but Karapetian uses the powerful and violent moment as his opening scene only to latch onto Dan and follow his struggle and nightmares that the guilt of his deeds bring with them.
The first Latvian horror film is a dark, surreal affair which holds a dense atmosphere and an over all eerie vibe through out its 71 minute run time.
★★★½ review by Chris Haydon on Letterboxd
A scathingly dark and sinister picture that echos the profound and bitter nature of The Dekalog.
The Man in the Orange Jacket has one of the year's most assured and twisted openings; a stalking and home invasion which forces the audience into truly uncomfortable terrority.
Breathlessly paced at a mere 71 minutes, this Lativian drama slinks and shocks whilst trying to convey a deep political message.
Whilst it doesn't always strike those desired notes, this is still a cut above and a film that will linger long after the credits roll.
This is smart, muted, minimalistic filmmaking shot with much precision.
★★★½ review by Alfonso C. Lopez on Letterboxd
Intrigante, enfermizo, brutal e hipnotico retrato de un asesino, rodado casi sin dialogos, sin explicaciones y sin concesiones. De lo mas interesante que he visto en bastante tiempo, tanto por su factura como por su narracion.
★★★½ review by Liva on Letterboxd
The title "Latvian horror film" is already a curiousity big enough to catch your eye (we don't have many of those around here), and "M.O.Ž." doesn't disappoint. Those expecting a lot of gore, slashing, cutting, jumping around and, generally, a lot of people freaking out will be disappointed (there's some of that as well, but not as much as you'd think), but if you enjoy moodier and in many ways scarier experiences, "M.O.Ž." is worth checking out - it's a fascinating insight in the killer's psyche more than anything else. There are some interesting political undertones, but mostly it's about creeping dread and paranoia.
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