Fantasia Festival Review: ‘When I Consume You’ (2021)

“When I Consume You strips down all the emotional barriers and ravages the strength between the siblings. It’s powerful, heartbreaking, and hopeful…”

Check out our review of When I Consume You for #FantasiaFest!

Perry Blackshear’s When I Consume You premiered at the Fantasia Festival, surely is a surprising and haunting watch. A movie that touches on redemption, family. Battling inner demons to overcome fear is something that everyone can relate to. This supernatural and mysterious entity that haunts the Shaw siblings have been controlling their lives since they were children. When an unfortunate death occurs, one must fight their strength and fight against the mysterious figure that is haunting them. This new journey of redemption and revenge go hand in hand in Blackshear’s new horror movie that tackles the folkloric elements.

Daphne Shaw (Libby Ewing) and her brother, Wilson Shaw (Evan Dumouchel) have raised and protected each other from any obstacle that has come their way. They have had a tough life and Daphne is finally succeeding at her job. She plans to adopt a child, while Wilson hopes to become a teacher. Daphne is haunted and killed by a mysterious hooded figure and Wilson is convinced that that person is responsible for his sister’s demise. Despite the authorities’ belief that she overdosed.

As Wilson is trying to find out about his sister’s murder, Daphne’s soul appears. Pushing him to get stronger to defeat the stalker. So, when Wilson and Daphne search for the mysterious stalker who wears a black hoodie. Lurking in the dark streets of Brooklyn, the man confronts Wilson. The hooded stalker (MacLeod Andrews) threatens to eat their souls and kill them. But the siblings are desperate to uncover and perform dark rituals. Hoping that they’ll be enough to defeat the evil spirit with sharp yellow eyes that haunts them. 

When I Consume You
Daphne (Libby Ewing) and Wilson (Evan Dumouchel) in ‘When I Consume You’. Image courtesy of Fantasia Festival

When I Consume You dives into the complex themes of family, redemption, and overcoming difficult obstacles. Daphne and Wilson are haunted by a demon that is responsible for their struggles in the past. The movie uses shots of the monster’s yellow eyes glow in the closet of their childhood home to show the horror elements. Using folkloric and supernatural elements, Wilson uses magic and witchcraft to defeat the powers of the Soul Eater. Which is what he does when he eats Daphne’s soul. Wilson’s attempt to bring back his sister’s soul so that they can be together again. But this takes him on a path of many challenges, down roads to places where he has never been before.

He has to become stronger, faster and train in the art of combat. All to defeat it by building a makeshift dummy and recording his movies. Daphne helps him track down the black hooded figure. Who’s always a step in front of him to protect him, and back to warn him of attackers. The Shaw siblings’ ultimate sacrifice and strength to build themselves up and redeem themselves from the world that has never given them a chance to succeed. 

The storytelling and journey of Wilson and Daphne’s relentless efforts to keep working to better themselves. Even when the monster comes back to haunt Wilson. The performances of Ewing and Dumouchel elevate the narrative and brings out vulnerable moments between the characters. Their emotional performances resulted in a sheer intimate confrontation of desperate attempts of redemption and survival. 

Blackshear uses unique techniques to bring the monster in and out of focus. Masterfully portraying the frantic nature of the character’s behaviour. During some scenes, the camera shifts to the character’s point of view. Leaning into their eyes as the demon roams around and haunts them. Distorted sounds and monsters creeping in the dark are used to amplify the horror elements to seek out the killer. 

Even when personal tragedies strike in When I Consume You, the lesson is to overcome them. Defeat the demons that lurk beneath the shadows. “The evil is still out there”, says Wilson, who is determined to avenge his beloved sister’s death. His relationship and dependency towards Daphne are so intimately portrayed to show that they have been through so many difficult places in their lives. When I Consume You strips down all the emotional barriers and ravages the strength between the siblings. It’s powerful, heartbreaking, and hopeful at the end when Wilson survives and fights back against the misfortune monster in their childhood.

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