starring David Call, Joshua Leonard, Ana Kayne, Alex Breaux
written and directed by Larry Fessenden
by Walter Chaw Depraved, the first film that Larry Fessenden has both written and directed since 2006's The Last Winter, is a smart, borderline scholarly take on the Frankenstein story, honouring the literary "borrowing" of the Mary Shelley novel as well as the sociological, post-WWI concerns driving the James Whale adaptation of the same. Adam (Alex Breaux), its monster, is, eventually, articulate, literate--a romantic figure in the Romanticist sense, yearning for meaning in the arms of a woman. Adam is also the walking wounded from one of our interchangeable forever wars, mirroring the walking wounded from WWI mutilated by the teeth of mechanized warfare who survived at the hands of improved medicine. There's also a subplot about a pharmaceutical industry run amok and, in the appearance of a little silver charm, a cookie for the Fessenden fetishist who might remember a similar totem from the filmmaker's masterpiece, Wendigo. There is, in other words, a lot. Enough so that Depraved spends more time digging its basement than it does wiring its house--a deficiency shared by Fessenden's first run at the Frankenstein story, his principled but didactic 1991 feature debut, No Telling.