“The feel-bad hit of 2012” — VICE
“A hefty dose of horrific imagery and surrealism” — BEYOND HOLLYWOOD
Asa is a ‘lowlife’. A loser with anarchic tendencies who wastes his days one fix at a time, his existence is nothing but an endless commute between his pitiful house, his hometown and the spot where he scores the illicit substances that provide him with ephemeral comfort. As a sporadic musician, he crosses paths with Elle, a trombone player with nowhere to go who soon ends up staying at Asa’s, the latter quickly imposing his way of life onto her. Together, they’re constantly getting high on hallucinogens that give them starfish visions. This heavy consumption drastically alters the lovers’ reality as Asa and Ella’s morose daily existence soon turns into a hell filled with strange creatures and devious demons. Eyed by a dog that takes itself for a god, they incessantly see themselves as prisoners of a sinister conspiracy that will take them towards a mysterious island. Things just get stranger and stranger from there — to what limits you have no idea...
Like every year, the 2012 edition of the Fantasia Film Festival will be ripe with moments of pure strangeness that will leave you in a state of complete bliss. None, however, will equal the psychedelic experience that is LOWLIFE, directed by Canadian Seth Smith. This black-and-white debut feature proves similar to a nocturnal excursion into a parallel universe where everything follows the logic of the illogical. A chaotic labyrinth, LOWLIFE seeks inspiration from extreme narcotic-induced delirium to deliver unconventional visuals that recall ERASERHEAD. Smith also follows David Lynch’s example in his destruction of the codes and regulations of narrative cinema. Linearity is completely dismissed and replaced by a fragmented tale capable of inducing collective hallucinations. This intoxicated poem is guided by a profoundly nihilistic philosophy. There are no means of escape in this cruel world crafted by Smith, even within artificial utopias. Burroughs’ spirit is never far away. Ditto for Cronenberg’s, recognizable in the characters’ quasi-erotic fascination with monstrous bodies. LOWLIFE is the latest addition to a an important wave of horror films produced and directed in Halifax, including HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN, THE CORRIDOR and many others. It drastically stands out from its peers, however, as it celebrates the surrealist movement it resuscitates for the occasion. When the film screens, the night will fall from the sky.
— Simon Laperrière