The brilliant thing about FrightFest is its ability to unearth hidden gems of cinema and this is exactly what it’s done with Dementamania. With firm nods towards Cronenberg, a lead character who bares similarities to Patrick Bateman and a distinctly art-house feel to proceedings Dementamania is both original and incredibly difficult to categorise.
Billed as The Office meets The Fly, Dementamania tells the story of Edward Arkham (Robertson) who after stepping on a wasp (there’s The Fly reference) slowly finds his sanity declining and hallucinations occurring and intensifying as the very visual effects of the sting magnify. Set for much of the story in the workplace – a software company office – Arkham’s hallucinations include debauchery in all its guises, be it the grissly death of his co-workers, lurid sexual fantasies or the more hypnotic weirdness that we’re party to as the film progresses.
Robertson himself puts in a fine performance as he tries to come to terms with exactly what is happening to him both physically and emotionally – a particular highlight being his confrontations with hardman David Snodgrass (Bell) whose position in the company isn’t fully revealed until the final scenes of the film – but the real star of the show is Pablo Mendoza (Robert van Twillert) his hilarious co-worker who provides much of the light relief and humour within Dementamania, as well as some incredibly suspect advice.
It isn’t without its flaws: the plot may be a little thin in substance and overstylised at times and a few of the minor characters have dubious acting talent. That said, Dementamania is a fun take on Cronenbergian horror which whilst not quite an excellent film is worth the entry price.
When Edward Arkham treads on a wasp shortly after climbing out of bed, it’s difficult to see how his day could possibly get worse, but when he starts fantasising about the deaths of his work-colleagues, and talking to a man who may or may not be real, he soon realises that the incident with the wasp was just the beginning. Dementamania is a fascinating, Cronenbergian journey through the human psyche. Sam Robertson does a tremendous job as Edward, a man clearly on the edge of sanity, and the supporting cast are superb, particularly Edward’s best friend, Pablo (Robert Van Twillert), who provides most of the comedy in a role he clearly enjoyed. With nods to The Fly, Dementamania is destined to become a cult classic and was one of the surprise hits of FrightFest.