I wish The Commune opened with a scene in which the main character, Jenny, played by Chauntal Lewis, in her familiar environment. I haven't gotten around to the special features on the disk to see if such a thing was perhaps filmed or planned. I do know that it took me longer than I'd have preferred to gain sympathy for the character, time in which I began nitpicking in my mind whether Lewis looked acceptable as fifteen going on sixteen or if writer/director Elisabeth Fies and actor Stuart G. Bennett were plausible as her parents.
I say this not to suggest the movie is bad, because it most certainly is not. In fact, it's quite intriguing and even shocking. The nitpicks I had were basically a distraction from getting me involved with a movie that wholly deserved my undivided sympathy.
First of all, I was already kind of a pre-fan of Fies. I first heard of her when I came across some information on Pistoleras, a Spaghetti Western influenced movie she had been developing prior to The Commune. Then came The Commune, a The Wicker Man influenced movie about new age types. She was like an artistic kindred spirit of sorts.
The movie is solid, professional, well-acted and featuring plausible dialogue throughout, and while I can't put my finger on an exact moment, somewhere after the half-hour mark, I was definitely hooked on the character and her fate, and, as importantly, the mystery of what was happening around her... to her.
I'd like to see this movie get better distribution. It's the kind of horror movie we don't see enough of. Neither afraid to linger on quiet moments, mood and character nor afraid to shock us with genuine, literal horrors.
I'll be watching the disk in days to come. I look forward to knowing more about it and the process by which it came to be.
And I even more look forward to seeing what Fies does next. She definitely has interesting ideas and the talent to make them happen. I'll continue watching what she does.