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Insect Review

Once more, Director Evan Jacobs and his talented cast of voice actors, including Isaac Golub and Nik Hill, introduces another story of troubled adolescence. Unlike several of his other productions that are more centered around realistic, grounded school dramas however, Insect delves more into the science-fiction territory of Cool Summer, as the primary conflict here lies with protagonist Reggie coping with his parents' demise. What begins as a melodramatic divide between Reggie and his older brother Donald, whom seems tired of Reggie's constant nagging and desire for attention, culminates into a frightful confrontation against an otherworldly insectoid monstrosity which embodies all of Reggie's insecurities. So, does Insect square up to Evan Jacobs' previous works? Let's find out!

Once again, the animation of Insect is merely the medium for its story. Amazon apparently removed this film from their catalogue, likely because viewers bemoaned the poor visual style the movie portrays. I won't lie and say this or any other animated Evan Jacobs experience so far has been the most stellar to look at. These character movements are static, and sometimes when trying to portray dramatic moments (such as the film's climax when Reggie battles the insect, looking more like a frame-per-second blob of character models smashing against each other vaguely) they fall short of delivering that impact. However, once more the story is what truly captivated me. The character dialogue, especially between the brothers is realistic and grounded in reality, they act like real people who've just lost their parents and are doing their best to move on. Donald's dismissive, stronger nature as the older brother contests with Reggie's vying for his attention, and while the animation cannot convey that to its best ability, the superb voice-acting and script does such well enough. I truly felt embellished into their tale by the time this brief tale reached its conclusion, as I wanted Reggie to find his closure regarding his parents, his brother, and this tumultuous change in his life.

Of course, the movie's crux is the Insect itself. It certainly seems to act more as a representation of Reggie's emptiness after losing his family, but the movie heavily implies the creature was responsible for his parents' death in the first place, alongside the murder of several nearby animals and possibly individuals. In horror, the monster is best approached with a vague ambiguity to prevent spoiling the surprise and keeping it shrouded in mystery what exactly the creature is capable of, its intentions, and beyond. The otherworldly aspect of this giant insect suddenly befalling these two bereaved brothers is probably the poignant strength of the film, as we never truly understand whether its merely a passing predator or some manner of sadistic lifeform that takes joy with instilling terror into humans. The fact it only appears at the climax to surprise and terrify the brothers and Reggie's friend Angus is perfect enough for its role in the film.

As per usual, the characters were quite interesting and had me invested. Donald's dismissive and callous attitude to Reggie could irritate viewers, but it comes from an understandable place of wanting to leave behind his childhood and become a true adult. Furthermore, Reggie's own desire to cling to his older brother, practically the only guardian he has left in the world now is also understandable, giving both characters a sense of empathetical relatability with the audience. This is further enhanced by their constant conflicts as Reggie claims the legitimacy of this harrowing monster haunting their home, to which Donald merely prescribes it to an increasing psychological mania beset onto Reggie, making it all the more satisfying when Donald is confronted by the truth and forced to accept Reggie's claims were true.

However, my favorite character in the film has to be Mister Crane. An old Korean war veteran whom provides sage advice for Reggie (and possibly a continuation of this saga as he calls him during the movie's ending), Crane definitely gives off the vibes of a wise old mentor that could be respected and trusted. Every scene with him seems to insinuate some kind of wisdom, whether its the idea of still being scared as an adult to moving on, to even having faith in God or some manner of higher power when tragedy befalls you. Crane's presence in the movie wasn't particularly instrumental in any way, but the fact he was looking out for Reggie in his dark times was reason enough for me to admire his presence there.

Ultimately, Insect isn't a movie that should be easily discounted. For all its animation setbacks, it holds a great deal of heart that shouldn't be ignored, and it merely proves to me that even with limited resources, Director Jacobs can deliver to you a narrative that will vividly captivate you, if only for an hour. This is one of his projects that I hope to see a sequel too sometime, as the mystery of the Insect remains unsolved and I'd love to see more of Reggie and Mister Crane. If you ever have a few dollars to spare for Vimeo and an hour to burn, check this movie out! Stay safe everyone, and God Bless!

P.S - Expect a lot more reviews and general blog content this summer! I'm so excited to share my projects and work with you all!

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