Privileged New York City hipsters take a wintry weekend away in the Hamptons for drug-fueled bonding with supernatural lasting effect in Harrison Atkins’ ghostly “Lace Crater.”
Lindsay Burdge stars as Ruth, reeling from a breakup and harboring a crush on friend and host Andrew (Andrew Ryder). She dares to stay in the “haunted” coach house, where she has a bizarre, sensual encounter with Michael (Peter Vack), a spectral presence swaddled in burlap, who speaks with all the affectation of an urban twentysomething.
Ruth’s interaction with Michael begins to take an extreme toll, physically and mentally. Atkins cleverly creates a lo-fi expression of Ruth’s cracking subjectivity through digitized video abstraction and audio manipulation. These stylistic tics effectively manifest her hallucinatory break with reality but never feel inconsistent with the indie aesthetic.
“Lace Crater” is a thoroughly modern ghost story that creeps into camp, testing the audience as it wavers between terrifying and deadpan funny. It would spill over into silly if not for the delicate performance of Burdge, who brings a palpable fragility and anchors the film with her sensitive, intensely physical performance. She’s one of the finest actors working in the experimental New York indie scene at the moment, and this vivid yet controlled performance proves she’s ready to break out onto a bigger stage.
Running time: 1 hour 23 minutes
Playing: Arena Cinema, Hollywood; also streaming on FlixFling