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Clearmind

A witty and wickedly fun revenge fantasy / horror comedy with a killer ensemble, “Clearmind” is a smart, funny, ferociously good time.

Clearmind

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Some of our best monsters come from grief. Mrs. Vorhees, Norman Bates, and even The Babadook all emerged from a profound sense of loss, a wound never fully healed, fermenting to madness in just the right type of fevered brain. Or the right sort of help.

Nora (Rebecca Creskoff) is still reeling from the drowning death of her daughter, but the rest of the world has moved on. Her friends have distanced themselves, Her former husband Michael (Rob Benedict) has fallen for a nubile Christian podcaster. Only her friend Lily seems to care, offering her a chance to test CLEARMIND, a VR technology that allows you to relive scenes in your life over and over.

It should be noted this technology is experimental, and Lily is not the most conscientious of scientists.

Using CLEARMIND, Nora can relive the fateful party where her daughter drowned, trying to piece together exactly what happened and exactly who is to blame.

Nora is galvanized into action when her former friends once again throw their annual party. At the lakehouse, her friends arrive for the reunion. They’ve long ago settled into their roles: the micromanager, the party girl, the flirt — but with the new addition of Shelby (Jessica Meraz) instead of Nora. Nora has not been invited this year, but she shows up nonetheless.

She’s soaking wet and strangely calm. At first. Soon, however, people start disappearing, reality gets wonky, and Nora’s smile keeps getting bigger.

A little too genteel to be called a slasher, Clearmind is more of a satire of a revenge fantasy.

It’s also witty as fuck.

Nora spits out one-liners as she plays with each party guest, pushing the boundaries of propriety as she INSISTS on getting them another glass of wine. The characters are broad and selfish but lovable, and the dialogue is whip-smart, evoking the easy rhythms of decades of shared history.

A standout performance here is Kate (Seana Kofed), who is such a delightful alcoholic that I’m split between joy and concern whenever I see her on screen. These characters live halfway between Camp Crystal Lake and The Big Chill, and the results are surprisingly funny.

As the lynchpin of all realities, Lily (DEAD BOY DETECTIVES’ Jenn Lyon) strikes the perfect tone as the group’s toxic friend/mad scientist, grounding us in what is happening even as we start to question her motivations.

Her sociopathy is revealed so naturally that it feels like a foregone conclusion, the natural extension of a character who would carelessly dabble with a tortured mind.

That said, as Lily reminds us, this is Nora’s perspective. And one that she’s lived through over and over again.

Could wild suspicions have taken root unprompted? Assumptions hardened into certainty and insecurities warping intuition?

Like Nora, I wouldn’t mind giving this one a rewatch to ensure I’m rooting for the right side.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 4

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