Title: Level 16
Written by: Danishka Esterhazy
Directed by: Danishka Esterhazy
Starring: Katie Douglas, Peter Outerbridge, Sara Canning, Celina Martin
One supposes the stylishly dour horror film Level 16 was inevitable in a world that embraced the dystopian misogyny of The Handmaid’s Tale and the in-your-face satire of Jordan Peele’s Get Out. Written and directed by Winnipegger Danishka Esterhazy, Level 16 is set in an all-girls institution – we wonder if it is an academy or an orphanage – where the girls are kept away from sunlight and fed a steady diet of “vitamins” and sociopathic finishing-school indoctrination. Drummed in is the virtue of a “clean girl” – simpler-time stuff about being obedient, attentive and temperate, the strictness of which would make even a Stepford Wife gag. The look of the film is sterile and monochromatic, as is the acting and the mood. And while fans of the genre will absolutely appreciate the surreal gloom, for most others Level 16 will come in at a level below an average Twilight Zone episode.