My Name is 'A' By Anonymous Review
Written by: Shane Ryan
Directed by: Shane Ryan
Starring: Katie Marsh, Demi Baumann, Teona Dolnikova, Alex Damiano, Kaliya Skye, Joseph Marsh, Sean Cain, Domiziano Arcangeli
Runtime: 90 minutes
Synopsis: Inspired by true events. A nine year old girl disappears and is later found murdered. The movie exploits the events leading up to the death of the girl, why did it happen? What lies beneath? Was the parenting of the young perpetrators to blame or was it their need to be seen. [...] -IMDb
This movie is horrifying. Not in the "horror" movie sense, but the fact that this is the reality for some of our youth... I find it terrifying. My Name is 'A' is inspired by the murder of nine year old Elizabeth Olten committed for the thrill of it by Alyssa Bustamante. Before I go on any further, I want to add that this isn't based purely on the case or its findings and conclusions. It's more of an attempt to paint the picture of what factors could have contributed to it.
... that being said, I'm rather speechless. This movie touched me. Very few films have created a sense of anguish within me. It's been a few days since seeing it, I wanted to chew on it and let it resonate for a bit before trying to formulate a review. I'm still trying to wrap my head around it. This movie isn't one that you want to watch for entertainment. It's far from fun, I'd hesitate to call it entertaining. This is a dark path into the psyche of a tortured teen. Ryan breaks it up though, offering different angles... puzzle pieces as characters. "The Sidekick", "The Performer", and "The Angst". All pieces of Bustamante, each with dark secrets and problems of their own. Ryan doesn't spoon feed you answers or force opinion here, he allows you to determine and define the characters for yourself and the effect each character had on the demise of Elizabeth Olten.
On the outside, the movie is interpeted as being about Bustamante, but at the root of it, the film offers a brutally honest glimpse at the youth of society everywhere. Abuse, self perception issues, depression, and so on. There are scenes where Alyssa and The Sidekick are cutting themselves to just "feel" and that's just one example where the realism makes it hard to watch. Yet the film is morbidly beautiful. The camera work and score is cohesive and helps maintain the sense of dread in the pit of your stomach. It's gritty, heartbreaking, captivating and provocative. It reels you in and doesn't let go, even after the end credits.
Despite it not being a true to form horror movie, much respect goes to Shane Ryan for tackling a tough subject and making an excellent film out of it, and to Wild Eye Releasing for taking this one on. I can understand how it would be hard to market this, for the nature of the content is not for everyone. My Name is 'A' is full of heart, and will haunt you to the core. Ryan accomplished something few do, and thats making an effective film. Whether you love it or hate it, it's one that you're going to remember for quite some time.