Under the Rainbow is Luke Ramer's first feature length film. This was my introduction to West 2nd Productions, and it was a very insightful viewing. The initial viewing of Under the Rainbow is like traveling through an unknown wormhole of the low-budget film world. It's safe to say Ramer took a step off the beaten path with this one and started forging his own. If you're looking for something different from the underground horror scene, you've found it.
The movie kicks off with a cult preparing to drown their sorrows in the Kool-Aid and travel to a realm that promises nothing but glorious things. As with most cults, it is all an illusion and once the bodies start dropping, these sugar-coated lies take them to a place vastly different than expected. We then get to know Vivi. She's a troubled soul whose pastimes include slicing away at herself and getting lost in a world of illegal substances. Vivi lost her mother during her birth, and has carried that guilt her entire life. When things go sour between her and her sole friend during a botched drug deal, she decides that suicide could be her great escape. She doesn't manage to end it all, but instead passes out on a train track.
Vivi awakens in another world, and quickly discovers what happens after suicide. She is now trapped in a purgatory of sorts and is being pursued by the minions of the Queen, who runs her new home. Given that Vivi didn't commit suicide, she is of high priority to the Queen. She trails one of the minions back to the royal fortress to get to the bottom of things and find a way out of this hell hole.
Under the Rainbow sucks you into a dimension that could not be any more captivating. This world seems to be the best of a vivid dream, coupled with the most unsettling areas of a nightmare. This flick grabs you, and pulls you into a Wonderland-esque world that you won't want to escape, if you even could. Ramer succeeds in finding a superb balance of discontent, and comfort. The film caters on the brink of reality and daydreams, teetering from craziness to sanity and back. Ultimately, it holds a thought provoking anti suicide message. Ramer conveys this message in a subtle, none-too-pushy way, allowing the viewer to perceive it in as much or little depth as they'd like.
Overall Under the Rainbow is something that all indie movie fans should give a shot. It is far from a conventional horror film but that is what makes it so great. Although Ramer was a much younger director when this was made, you could already see signs of a well defined filmmaker. It delivers on all fronts, containing a labyrinth of a story, visceral imagery, a dark tone, and solid performances all around. This is a true breath of fresh air in the genre. GET IT HERE!