Mongolian films have been making progress in terms of genre, as proven by the recent release of “Disorder”. Directed by Baatar Batsukh, an experienced cinematographer making his debut, “Aberrance” is a claustrophobic horror that premiered at Oldenburg before being shown at SXSW. It has now been released in the US, marking the first time a Mongolian horror movie has been shown there.
“Aberrance” will be premiering in theaters across North America on October 6th, thanks to Freestyle Digital Media.
Erkhmee and his wife Selenge have arrived at a remote cabin in the Mongolian wilderness, for reasons that are initially unclear. However, when Selenge discovers a dead cat in the nearby garbage bins, it becomes apparent that there may be something troubling her. As a seemingly polite neighbor begins to closely observe the couple’s every move, it is revealed that Erkhmee is abusive towards Selenge. The arrival of two of Selenge’s friends, including Sanaa, only adds to the tension, especially since the neighbor shows no signs of backing off. As time goes on, the violence escalates and the situation becomes increasingly complicated with the arrival of a doctor.
Also, take a look at this interview with.
It is apparent from the start that Baatar Batsukh had experience as a DP before taking on the role of director, as the film’s strongest aspect is the cinematography and overall visual presentation. Batsukh effectively utilizes the isolated and snow-covered forest setting to create a sense of disorientation, claustrophobia, and eventually, horror. The use of various visual techniques, such as tracking shots, shaky camera work, and a voyeuristic approach, adds to the eerie atmosphere of the film. The use of color, specifically the splashes of red, are also noteworthy and contribute to the impressive visuals. These elements may remind viewers of “A Tale of Two Sisters,” which appears to be a major influence on the director’s style.
Regarding the story, as mentioned at the end of the film, Batsukh pays tribute to Aronofsky and specifically his film “Mother.” The narrative heavily focuses on the question of who is the aggressor and who is the victim, as well as the roles of the other characters. Some parts effectively explore this theme, especially in Selenge’s portrayal by Selenge Chadraabal, who gives a strong performance and at times resembles the mother in “Moebius.” However, as the story progresses and approaches its conclusion, Batsukh becomes overly ambitious and includes too many plot twists. This constant turning of events makes the story seem unrealistic, even for its genre.
Zoljargal Erdenekhuyag’s editing works well for the most part, with the cuts adding to the aforementioned atmosphere, but at 75 minutes, it seems that the movie would benefit for some more minutes, in order for the whole thing to make more sense.
However, in addition to Chadraabal’s strong performance, the majority of the actors deliver captivating portrayals, effectively conveying their ambiguity. Yalalt Namsrai, in particular, stands out as the neighbor who exudes a sense of unease beneath his polite demeanor from the start. Oyundary Jamsranjav also adds a constant air of mystery in her role as the Doctor.
While “Aberrance” may have flaws in its storytelling and writing, its cinematography, acting, and unique status as a Mongolian horror film make it a worthwhile watch.