This movie is weird. Like, really weird. But is it weird-good?

The through-plot follows Anne (Kali Russell) as she tries to cope with the mysterious disappearance of her younger sister, Karen (Holly Bonney). Anne is an art teacher at a private art school. Shortly after Karen’s disappearance a new student arrives: Ginger Breadman (Linnea Gregg). Yeah, that’s really her name. They form a friendship that wanders a bit into inappropriate territory, until Anne invites Ginger to stay at her house. Ginger turns out to be sort of a cannibal. Or a vampire with a skin condition?

All of this is told in flashback, as Anne’s life is under review by an alien tribunal. Along the way we experience giants, an invisible film crew (The Xiolans!) that records every detail of our lives, a giant egg, a choir, and so, so many mannequins.

Stylistically and structurally, this film is put together like a William Burroughs cut-up novel: scenes seem sliced and scrambled, jump-cutting to hallucinatory asides, or just self-interrupting dialogue. Each scene is heavily stylized, sometimes operatic, sometimes B-movie sci-fi, sometimes cosmic horror, often strangely lit. A drug trip as portrayed in first-generation Dr Who. Whispers of Lynch and Jodorowsky can be seen.

Long sections are simple montages of public domain video clips from nature documentaries, old movies, educational films, kid shows and who knows what?

For all that, it’s not ultimately as confusing as I had feared, and the intrepid viewer who sticks through the first ten minutes or so can begin to follow the plot. And to be honest I was a little disappointed — though a plotless amalgam would probably have been frustrating.

The sound design is an interesting us of old-school sci-fi soundtracks and is often quite jazzy, and it does a lot of the work of keeping interest when the visuals are simply baffling.

I am really, really on the fence about this film. I might love it, and think it’s genius. I might think it’s incredibly funny. I might think it’s pretentious. I might hate it.

But I am leaning toward loving it. It definitely grew on me as it went. I might keep an eye on Joe Badon’s future projects.

Note: this is one of a shortlist of Movies In Which A Woman Throws Up But Is Not Secretly Pregnant.


Rating:  7.5 out of 10 Xiolans

Sister Tempest
Runtime:2 Hours 2 Minutes
Directed By:Joe Badon
Written By:Joe Badon