“A musical fantasy world in the vein of David Lynch, Neil Gaiman, and Cirque du Soleil... an extraordinary tale of the power of imagination” - BLABBERMOUTH
Tom (Francis X. McCarthy) is a dying composer suffering from severe dementia, which manifests in otherworldly flights of fancy. When the Grim Reaper comes to finally claim him, his whole mind breaks, sending whatever’s left of his consciousness tumbling back in time to his 10-year-old self’s skewed memories and vivid, unbound imagination. A scary, steampunkish snowman shows up at his window, and what follows is a journey through the young boy’s early life moments. Meanwhile in the real world, Tom’s bitter and distant daughter Gem does her best to cope with her father’s imminent passing, trying to establish a final connection with a man she barely knows, a man stuck in a fantasy world. At the intersection of both worlds, they might find each other at last.
Made in conjunction with Nightwish’s seventh studio LP of the same name, a concept album taking the listener through a dying composer’s memories, IMAGINAERUM is largely adapted from and inspired by what has been hailed as the band’s best album, yet stands on its own, adapting the album’s story, sounds and atmosphere to a feature-length narrative exploring themes of memory, loss and death within a dark, twisting mindscape. The band’s brand of symphonic metal, already hugely inspired by film soundtracks, serves as the film’s soundscape, showcased through performances, which act as pitstops on the path through Tom’s deathbed fantasies. In the hands of director Stobe Harju (who had previously helmed music videos for the band, as well as CG animation projects), it is Nightwish’s entire visual universe that is brought to life in something that will recall THE NEVERENDING STORY with a hint of JACK FROST, if lensed by a metalhead Tim Burton circa 1993, having grown up reading LITTLE NEMO IN SLUMBERLAND. Produced between Montreal and Helsinki, starring local talent such as Marianne Farley (LA PEAU BLANCHE) as Gem, alongside child actor/horror film regular Quinn Lord (Joe Dante’s THE HOLE, 2008’s TRICK ‘R TREAT and last year’s THE POSSESSION) as the young Tom, the IMAGINAERUM feature film is a must for die-hard Nightwish fans, of course, but also recommended to enthusiasts of dark fantasy, sombre musicals, the macabre and the enchanting.
— Ariel Esteban Cayer