The Interrogation of Cheryl Cooper (2014)

Honorable Mention (Maybe.  I Think.  Who can tell?)

This is a seriously strange film.  I have no idea what to think about it.  But it has earned a mention here because it is a sequel — or more-or-less sequel, or some sort of strange alternate reality continuation or something even more tenuously connected — to Albert Pyun’s remarkable 2005 film, Invasion.

It’s also written by Cynthia Curnan, who wrote the earlier film, and starts with a lengthy series of clips from Invasion, followed by a bland intertitle “ten years later.”

Invasion is one of the more conceptually intriguing variations on the found footage film I’ve seen, where the entire film was shot by the dashboard cam on a police car.  it is a fascinating experiment, although it is let down just a touch by the weird twist at its end.  While it is easy to dismiss Albert as the director of an endless series of post-Apocalyptic cyborg kickboxing movies, his films often have a strange edge to them — and he has also engaged in a bit of heavy duty formal experimentation in his films.

This one is also built around such an experiment as it is claimed to be all one take.  This is mostly true, although there are some video effects and additional footage overlaid and an important break in the end.

(I will, however, warn you that, while there is a little gore and some violence, Cheryl’s descriptions of what took place are extremely graphic and unsettling and will upset some viewers)

Cheryl Cooper, the only survivor of the previous film, wakes up handcuffed in a tiny room.  She and her friends went to an abandoned resort for a concert, only to be attacked by a serial killer.  She is the only survivor and a detective wants her to explain what happened.

Only there is a lot more going on than she realizes…

There are quite a few references to the original film, some of them rather subtle (like the comment that she can’t “turn back time”) and yet another appearance by someone named “Brick Bardo” in a Pyun film.  I think I also caught another fleeting reference to Albert’s remarkable three-player SF film, Deceit (which also plays out almost entirely in a single room).

However, the abrupt ending to this one comes out of nowhere and completely upsets anything we think we know about the film.  Something happens with no explanation, the revelations we heard only a few minutes before do not seem to fit, and the final series of intertitles offer a bizarre revisionist reinterpretation of what we just saw — and of the entire previous film!

I have no idea what it all means or what to think.  Is the shadow Cheryl saw in the security footage earlier in the film some unknown and otherwise unseen presence?  Does it have something to do with the alien parasites from the first film?  What about the monster’s head (or is it a devil?) that flashes on the screen?  Is it even possible to understand this film if you aren’t familiar with the original?  Did Ben do any of the things he said he did?  And who invited everyone?

It leaves you head spinning.  I have no idea what the right answer is, and find it hard to shrug and ignore that.  This is a film you are guaranteed to keep thinking about long afterwards, one which throws more questions at us than it tries to answer.

It might even be science fiction.

There’s just no way to tell…


And check out our new Feature:

The Rivets Zone:  The Best SF Movies You’ve Never Seen!

3 thoughts on “The Interrogation of Cheryl Cooper (2014)

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