It’s been a long time since I’ve watched the credits roll after a movie and had no idea what I felt about it immediately afterwards. Usually, I have strong emotions in one direction or another as I’m watching something. With Horse Girl, it was completely different. I truly did not know what to think or feel for any of the hour and forty minutes as I watched it. As I closed my laptop, one question was on my mind.
What Did I Just Watch?
This movie plays into a fear of being gaslighted, of thinking that the whole world is against you. The story follows Sarah, a sweet, socially awkward woman who loves her job at a craft store, her horse, Willow, and watching her favorite show, Purgatory (which is basically just Supernatural). In the recent past, she found her mother dead in the bathroom, from suicide. Mental illness runs in her family and she is worried that it is affecting her, too, when she starts experiencing lost time and odd sleepwalking occurrences. By the end of the movie, she has lost touch with reality completely, and believes that she is her own grandmother, who aliens are abducting and bringing to different times. It is unclear whether this is actually happening, or just a delusion.
What I Thought of It
The film ends with a stunning shot of Sarah floating in a tractor beam towards the sky into (what presumably is) a UFO. The one thing that really stood out to me was these great visuals. The film’s cinematography and set design were outstanding. I loved how the slightly desaturated hues of her normal life become bright, almost neon white light whenever she interacts with the aliens (or gives into her delusions, depending on how you interpret it). The costumes were also memorable, with Sarah’s final outfit and protective bodysuit both shades of peach, a motif color throughout the film. Alison Brie gives a phenomenal performance as Sarah, as does Molly Shannon, who plays Sarah’s concerned coworker.
In all honesty, this movie gave me the same feeling as when I read Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer. I was confused, I was intrigued, and I didn’t quite understand what was happening. Some plot points I wish were expanded on, and I felt like the minor characters had more to offer. Still, I really enjoyed watching it and have not stopped thinking about it for days. It was definitely an interesting way to address mental illness and psychosis. If you want a really trippy, truly bizarre experience, watch Horse Girl. I give this 3/5 Cthulus.(3 / 5)