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Saturday, April 4, 2020

Review: She’s Allergic to Cats

Director: Michael Reich
Screenplay: Michael Reich
Year: 2020

Michael moves to Hollywood with the intention of becoming a filmmaker but hasn’t had much success as of yet. While he works in one of his experimental projects, he makes a living as a dog groomer, a work that doesn’t make him much money and that forces him to live in a rented house infested with rats. In this outlook, he meets Cora, the woman from her dreams, but on their first date, things go horribly wrong.

The story in “She’s Allergic to Cats” is pretty simple to explain, but the way in which it is presented is a full challenge. Director Michael Reich (“Video Town”) uses an experimental style that breaks every rule of common storytelling and that plays more like a dream, where absurd images bombard the visuals with no preparation or logic. Below this sea of crazy psychedelic images, the plot is easy to follow and understand, sometimes thanks to the strange images, something that is not common in this type of experimental movies. Every turn, especially the outcome, is predictable, but surprises in the plot are not the goal, but rather the visual surprises.

The main cast is composed of Michael Pinkney (“Video Town”) interpreting himself and Sonja Kinski (“Holidays”) interpreting Cora. It is hard to identify with oddball Michael and his actual situation, but the characters are likable, and the interpretations share the same tone as the style of the movie. The actors have good chemistry among them and are a further testament of how things can look very different on the exterior but can be made compatible, as much in this movie.

It is surprising that this movie has been classified and advertised as a horror movie but falls far from being one. The experimental style of psychedelic images and old-fashioned visuals that makes it look like a ‘90s VHS movie as well as the constant presence of rats give it a disturbing feel that is never reached in the plot. The outcome has a somewhat disturbing scene but considering it a horror movie seems a bit far-fetched.

“She’s Allergic to Cats” is nothing like what you imagine it to be and at the same time, it makes perfect sense. This is the dichotomy that reigns in this small and highly experimental movie where logic is left behind but the plot is easy to follow and understand even with the stimulus of the crazy images randomly being thrown at the screen. Its ambiance never reaches that horror movie stage and feels more like a disturbing romantic comedy under an experimental lens that with full intention looks more like a student project than a professional movie and which style can be what attracts and at the same time banishes its audience. 

After being presented at several film festivals, “She’s Allergic to Cats” arrives on Amazon Prime Video and iTunes on April 7, 2020 by Giant Pictures.

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