The Editor is a film steeped in genre conventions. It shouldn’t really be a surprise, given that the Editor screened as part of MonsterFest and is produced by Canadian film company Astron – 6. The genre is ‘giallo’ (Italian for yellow), thriller movies from directors like Dario Argento with copious amounts of gore and nudity that play with themes of paranoia, insanity and sexuality. There is rampant use of strong coloured lighting and discordant style hopping soundtracks. The Editor follows all of these conventions closely, and being familiar with giallo as a genre certainly makes the film more enjoyable. It is not, however, a necessity. Directors Adam Brooks and Matthew Kennedy have crafted a genuinely engaging mystery that propels the movie through its meta moments.
Set sometime around 1980, the Editor focuses on Rey Ciso (Adam Brooks), a long suffering film editor, working on a giallo film. Things begin to go awry when the leads are brutally killed. Enter detective Peter Porfiry (Matthew Kennedy), who immediately suspects Ciso of the murders. In truth, everyone is acting suspiciously, and the killings continue, with more and more cast and crew getting hacked up. There’s not much point in synopsising fully; the mystery of the story is often what grounds the film. It is however worth noting the performances of Conor Sweeney (as rising star Cal Konitz) and Pez de le Huerta (as Josephine Jardin) both of whom successfully walk the tightrope between intentionally bad acting and actually emoting.
The premise of the film comes from an idea the team brainstormed after the difficulties of editing Astron-6’s last film Fathers’ Day (2011). The posters were designed as part of an exhibition of posters for films that didn’t exist.
Even if the plot is more complex than traditional giallo films, the themes of insanity, sexuality are still fundamental. Thematically and structurally The Editor is in many ways reminisce of David Lynch’s Inland Empire, especially the filmic constructs within the film and the symbolic use of doorways and corridors. The Editor, however, doesn’t require any academic background to follow. Similarly, for viewers outside the giallo-sphere there are plenty of identifiable references to contemporary horror films and directors like David Cronenberg.
Inside the giallo-sphere though, this film ticks boxes. The production design is saturated in high contrast colour, and cinematographers Brooks and Kennedy craft lighting cues that are both camp and pretty. The ADR is noticeable and funny, but it doesn’t interfere with the storytelling. The dubbing was a messy process though, as the team operated without a guide track and had actually improvised many of the lines on set. Actors schedule’s were a little problematic too, resulting in a couple of impersonations.
Given the close and often blurry lines between horror and comedy, The Editor isn’t afraid to go for a jump-scare instead of a joke. It’s a funny film, from the meta jokes about production and stilted scripts to the giggles of recognition each reference gets, it’s worth watching The Editor with friends who know the genre.
The Editor is currently making its way around the festival circuit. Its next appearance is at the Torino Film Festival in Italy.