Reviewed by Alicia Glass
A woman stuck in house arrest endures censure for her crimes, isolationist desperation and a growing feeling of impending doom!
It’s near impossible to give a review for this micro Indie hit without giving away a ton of delicious spoilers that really do make the movie great, but I’m gonna try. Some interesting trivia beforehand, the film was shot entirely on an iPhone and edited on a videoshop mobile app while filmmaker Jennifer Zhang was enduring complete self-isolation in her apartment during Covid lockdown. With performances from her co-star Eric Radic literally Skyped in, Zhang chose to use only what she had locked in with her during quarantine, for eight long lonely weeks.
So Charon (Jennifer Zhang), whose name is pronounced like “Sharon”, is in a lockdown of her own making – Charon is a notorious computer hacker who apparently did some very very bad things that negatively affected a lot of angry people, and she’s now under house arrest, pending her subsequent outside judgment. Her only lifeline to the outside world is her boyfriend Jerry (Eric Radic), the only one she’s allowed to talk to, on her computer on a regularly scheduled basis. Not a single one of Charon’s neighbors want a thing to do with her and indeed, many of them appear to be moving out of her apartment complex, in apparent protest.
Charon’s world is very small, encompassing her apartment and little else. She works out, she does martial arts too, she collects Batman fandom things, she cleans, she reads, she waits. Oh, and she talks to Jerry on the computer every evening at a predesignated time. Charon’s current existence, not life because this is far from living, is full of routine and interminable waiting, absolute starvation when it comes to other human contact, and is an excellent commentary on the mood and feel the whole globe endured during the recent Covid lockdowns. Jerry has become Charon’s entire universe pretty much, her only lifeline to the outside world, so when Jerry informs Charon that money has run out and starts making all sorts of getting-darker requests for her to “perform” on camera for funds, Charon begins to suspect all is not as it seems in her tiny microcosm.
The film is very well-made and edited, the creepy score from Korean American composer/mixer Diana Cha is entirely atmospheric, and the ending I did not see coming (which is very rare). A fine ending to the slate of enjoyable films from Horrible Imaginings 2021, Charon is an Indie hit that lovers of irony will all enjoy!