The Oregonian

Screened at the 2011 Another Hole in the Head Film Festival

A young woman, dazed and bloody from a car accident, wanders through a nightmarish backwoods dreamscape in Calvin Lee Reeder’s feature debut The Oregonian: an old woman in a red shawl smiles the silent grin of the damned; a wheezing passer-by in a truck takes our hero to a motel and, without a word of explanation, starts cooking breakfast in the bathroom; a dude in a green, vaguely Phillie-Phanatic-like stuffed animal costume follows her around; a woodsman in a plaid jacket emerges from the darkness to intone “a new beginning — here’s to it” before slinking back into the murk. There’s an otherworldly green-lit room where she witnesses atrocities while someone apparently watches through a hidden camera. There’s a hint of a backstory — possibly she’s escaped from two perverts holding her prisoner in the woods — but mostly it’s surreal horrors all the way down.

Obviously all of this owes more than a little to David Lynch — The Oregonian often plays like direct homage — and don’t expect any of it to make even a lick of sense. But Reeder has a feel for the indelibly creepy; some of the visions he conjures felt like the kinds of nightmares I might have in my nightmares. Ultimately I didn’t know what the hell he was on about, but when it was over I needed a hug.

-- Eugene Novikov

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