Inferno (2016) [4.5/5]

On a crisp fall evening in the mid-90s, the new girl at club INFERNO, Bambi, struggles to fit in with the other dancers. She prepares herself to finally become an integral member of the group, despite her nerves and inexperience. Meanwhile, Jason, arriving to celebrate his 18th birthday, is nervous, but wants to fit in with his boisterous, much more experienced friends. Bambi and Jason cross paths, with Bambi finally able to take the plunge, but this lap dance may be more terrifying than Jason originally expected.

First off, extraordinary lighting, score, cinematography and general exploration of the space of the edifice that this takes place in, especially during the introductory, music video-esque montage which immediately builds a visually stunning and believable world. And right off the bat I have to say, in order to review this film, if you've seen it/once you watch it (which you should) that, of course, it's an extremely uncomfortable viewing experience. But that was obviously the intention of this talented young director.

Inferno is indeed a horror film, but more so a loss of innocence film, in the darkest sense, and a social commentary on both cultural artificiality and the notion of a requirement for groups or "cliques," a needless circle of impenetrable interpersonal relationships. Only it's ultimately explored here through a petrifying metaphor in the final minute or two, an unforgettable, visual social critique thats relationship to the hollowness of industries which force destructive situations onto young women makes it a great companion piece to this year's The Neon Demon.

Cannot wait for Dionne and Turner's first feature.

-Eli Hayes