The Scopia Effect is an ambitious project for debut writer/director Christopher Butler. The British independent sci-fi/horror spans thousands of years along one working class girl’s previous lives. Basic played by Joanna Ignaczweska is a young polish office worker suffering with maldepression. Working with her therapist they try hypnotic regression to help. This unlocks a dark energy which explodes a trauma of past lives across Basia’s life.
Joanna Ignaczweska does an excellent job of capturing Basia dealing with the consequences of depression and the experience of past lives haunting her. The former being a difficult journey regardless. Ignaczweska grounds the character throughout the multi-layered plot. She works well with the script to capture the beauty of everyday life. We see an interesting and not fully realised relationship with a friend, who is disconnected from Basia’s feelings about her depression and the effects of her past lives.
The cinematography on display here creates a haunting sense to the mundane. It brings a mood that carries with it eeriness and tension; absorbing you into Basia’s world. The plot begins to lose focus as the more fantastical elements, don’t just creep in, some come flying in screaming. Butler shows that he can handle these horror beats. Although the plot could drop one off the several balls it’s juggling, the themes of the film are driven home well. It uses some interesting techniques to weave it all together towards a satisfying finale.
It’s undeniably an ambitious debut and Butler, for the most part, pulls it off with absorbing performances and atmosphere and very well shot. An exciting and interesting debut.