When you watch the trailer for Ink, you may get the impression that this is yet another “SyFy presents” low budget, low brow SF flick. This impression would be dead wrong. While Ink is low budget, it is nowhere near low brow. The psychological depth, the oneiric setting, and the contemplative structure of the narration ensures that SyFy channel would not touch it with a ten foot pole. It is way to smart for their current tasteless, nerd hating incarnation. The sad truth is that no one wanted to touch this movie to begin with. No big movie studio would pick it up. No TV channel wanted to have anything to do with it. No one seemed to be interested in making it.

Eventually it was financially backed by small independent movie studio called Double Edge Films (warning, shitty web design). The produced it, shown it on few film festivals and tried to directly sell to independent movie theaters in select cities while at the same time distributing it in DVD and BlueRay format it directly from their website. The sales were not going that well, until someone ripped it and an illegal copy hit the torrent circuits. According to Torrent Freak it was the fourth most downloaded movie of the week November of 2009, with over 400 thousand downloads.

The blind pathfinder

The incredible popularity amongst pirates boosted the movies IMBD score bumping it from abysmal tail end to a whooping 16’th place on their movie meter. All this exposure caused massive spike in DVD and merchandise sales, and resulted with the studio striking a deal with Hulu where you can currently view it with brief commercial interruptions. Which proved once again, that piracy can be the best kind of marketing and exposure you can get.

The incubi

As for the movie itself, it is actually very good. It is amazing what the cast and crew have accomplished given their tight budget. The special effects are low key but very well done. For example, I loved the incubi look which while incredibly minimalistic still ended up being undeniably creepy. The final fight sequence which takes place in a hospital and alternates between the real world and nightmarish dreamscape is especially powerful and well put together.

Ink entering the limbo

I really don’t want to talk much about the plot, because giving away any details sort of ruins the fun. Half the fun watching it, is trying to make sense of all the stuff that is happening. And have no fear, it does make sense. At the end, all the loose ends are tied up in a neat little bow and everything comes together just fine. Let me try to give you some idea what is it about though: a big, disfigured scary looking dude plucks a little girls soul right out of her body while he sleeps. He intends to sell it to the incubi – shadowy figures that appear at night and give people nightmares. A group of mysterious Storytellers (whose job is to do the opposite – bring people good dreams) take it upon themselves to track down the kidnapper who hides somewhere in the parallel dreamscape/limbo dimension before the girls body dies in the real world. But it is more than that. In between the choreographed fights, we have introspective story of a neglectful father whose successful career broke apart the family, an imaginative but internally consistent world of incubi/storytellers, a very interesting twist ending and incredible low key special effects and makeup work.

Granted, it is probably not the best movie you will see this year. But it is quite impressive considering it’s history and budget. And it is free to watch on Hulu so really there is no excuse for missing it.

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5 Responses to Ink

  1. Rob UNITED STATES Google Chrome Windows Terminalist says:

    You can also stream it on Netflix if you have that. I thought it was alright. Pretty good for what they had to work with.

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  2. Kevin UNITED STATES Konqueror Linux says:

    I had originally acquired Ink via “unauthorized distributors” several months ago. And even though the genre is far from my preferred movie genre, for some reason I thought it was such a damn good movie that I asked my wife to watch it, and we later bought Ink through authorized distributors.

    I am not entirely sure *why* I like the movie, I find myself watching it yet again on occasion. I am undecided if I might consider Ink to be the best movie I’ve seen in a while, but Ink definitely does grab my attention for some reason that I can’t quite figure out.

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  3. I didn’t like the first quarter or so of the movie so much. I found it annoying how vague it was at first (I didn’t read your little summary beforehand). But, oh man, that was definitely worth watching through! That’s a really powerful ending. And you’re right, the way the incubi were depicted was very effective.

    The very best moment of the movie is that scene with the dream-world fighting in the background and the real-world hospital scene in the foreground, also seen in the trailer at the 2m10s point. That part gave me chills.

    spoiler below

    I actually picked up on the “twist” around the chain-reaction scene, and then immediately recognized Ink the next time he was shown. If the clues had been a little more subtle I might not have picked up on it as early. Fortunately the Ink costume was plenty concealing to not spoil anything right off the bat.

    I looked here to help me remember what other movies I saw this year (four of them I saw over two flights, and wouldn’t have seen them otherwise), and after reviewing the list, I actually think this is the third best fictional movie I’ve seen this year (out of the whopping ~8 I’ve seen). The movie’s conclusion is what placed it that high on my list.

    So thanks for introducing it to me!

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  4. Luke Maciak UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Linux Terminalist says:

    @ Chris Wellons:

    See, I was completely oblivious to the twist all the way up until the reveal. After Inks identity was revealed, I started wondering about Liev the Storyteller… Could she also be someone we know? For example a grown up version of the little girl from one of the future? Probably not, but it made me wonder.

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  5. Chris Wellons UNITED STATES Mozilla Firefox Windows Terminalist says:

    Oh yeah, I had also considered that possibility with the Storyteller. For awhile I expected that to be part of the big reveal, too. Perhaps it should have been …

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