Altered states – movie review

What’s better than a trippy 80s sci-fi horror film about religion, consciousness, and truth?

We meet a young psychopathologist who is examining schizophrenia. During his studies, he begins to get interested with the human consciousness and its other versions. Accompanied by two other people he begins his sessions in a sensory deprivation tank. There he begins to have vivid religious hallucinations that surprise him since he himself is not a religious person. Determined to find the truth he sets off to Mexico to partake in a ritual with a heavy hallucinogen that he wants to take home and use in the tank in his use for the truth.

I have to admit, I am always a sucker for movies like this. They mix two of my favorite things together – horror and philosophy. Well, not all philosophy but much like the main character I also seek the “Truth” as one might put it and really love looking into the theories of higher consciousness and spirituality. And when I saw that there is such a movie that was directed by Ken Russell (who also directed The Devils, one of my favorite movies) I knew that it would be a very memorable film. So did it live up to the hype?

Well yes, but not fully. As I expected this movie was visually stunning. The hallucination scenes especially were superb, accompanied by a hauntingly beautiful musical score.

That being said there were some scenes that just felt misplaced and dragged on too long. It took away from the core feeling of the film and made it a bit cornier. They could have been taken away or edited and it would have been much better.

But still, it’s a movie that I can not hate. It has what I love the most in movies – it makes one think and question things. Especially in today’s day and age. This is why I suppose I gravitated to the main character himself. But for now, I will stick to reading books, meditating, and watching documentaries. Using a sensory deprivation tank with mysterious drugs is too far off, although I do admit that it does sound tempting though.

Drugs seem to often come up in many religious practices or rituals. Most notably ayahuasca. But they are often associated with more “evil” rituals and seeing how conspiracy theories are circulating it is no wonder why. Especially when you look into the “religion of sin” and the theories revolving around Hollywood and the Vatican. But… that might be worth a post in itself.

Final verdict: 7.5/10

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