IRIS: The Haunting New Film About a Woman’s Deadly Struggle For Survival

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Written by ~ Nick R, Murphy ~Cinema Trends

Iris is not your average woman. While she may appear like any other single lady one might find in the Brooklyn New York area, Iris harbors a secret. A dark secret that affects her nightly life and everyone she comes in contact with. This secret haunts her every moment of every day, and she will kill to keep it hidden.

This is the driving force behind IRIS, the erotic horror thriller directed and produced by Diana Rodriguez. Rodriguez also co-wrote the script with David Karges, featuring poetry by Katherine Varnes. It tells the story of a young woman facing the death of her last living relative amid the backdrop of a lifetime of grief, and the relentless pursuit of subsistence. Things take a turn when she meets a sensitive young man, while at the same time experiencing mysterious sightings of a lost love from her past. The mix of all these elements soon prove to be a recipe for both tragedy and a hidden sense of hope.

Alice Kremelberg (Orange Is The New Black) stars as the eponymous Iris and gives an outstanding lead performance as this tortured soul dreadfully awaiting the death of her Aunt Adelaide, played by Mary Looram (Like Father, Braid). As Aunt Adelaide slowly withers away in hospice, Iris continues her day to day routines of working in an antique shop and scrolling online for connections through an online dating app. However, Iris has an ulterior motive behind her digital search for suitors, and it’s not love. Iris has a hunger, and she needs to feed. On every date she goes on, she sizes her match up and determines their strength of character on criteria of what she considers basic human decency. And if any of her dates fail to meet her standards, then that’s the end of them. They’re dinner. That’s just how Iris operates.

But complications arise when Iris meets Tom, played by Grant MacDermott (Hustlers, Mr. Robot), at a support group meeting for people dealing with the lingering effects of grief. Tom is a good-hearted man coping with crippling trauma. As their chaste relationship develops, Iris is confounded by a debilitating emotional dilemma. She yearns for the love she once lost but recognizes the potential of having a strong bond with Tom. Unfortunately, her primal nature exposes itself in the heat of lust, causing her deep-seated vampirism to emerge and overtake her instincts. So she can never truly express her true feelings to Tom without it resulting in his death. What’s a timeless girl to do in the big city? All will be answered in the film’s harrowing final act.

While this may be Diana Rodriguez’s first outing as a feature film director, she has a litany of film set experience under her belt. She has a BFA from City College of New York and has a long history as a camera assistant. Over the last six years, she has assisted on numerous short subjects, features, and late-night comedy shows such as 50 Central and Hart of the City. Through her extensive education, Diana was more than ready to tackle the inherent challenges of bringing IRIS to the screen.

Her history as an AC notwithstanding, Diana also has a vested interest in production design, which she dabbled in when she initially began her career. Despite finding a better fit as a camera assistant, she has never forgotten how effective production design can be in both conveying and affecting the story. And she brings her passion for production design to IRIS as one of its central components. With the skills of production designer Rocio Gimenez, heavy emphasis is put on mood and color. And the look of the film’s sets is accentuated by impeccable cinematography from Horst Dieter Baum.

All this talent behind the camera works to the benefit of the talent in front of the camera, making for a one of a kind cinematic experience reminiscent of modern classics like Let The Right One In and Under The Skin. The dreary tone of IRIS is enhanced by thought-provoking psychological themes involving grief, guilt, lust, and isolation. It is also a stark commentary on the modern dating era by utilizing a Tinder based dating app as a central plot element. The balanced combination of these ingredients is proof positive that IRIS is destined to be one of the breakout independent hits of 2020. It is more than just a movie about a hundred-year-old vampire, it is a polarizing metaphor for the culture as we know it.

IRIS is expected to hit screens later this year. So stay tuned for future updates as they come in because this is one film you won’t want to miss.