By Michael Kalafatis
Krisha opens with a black screen. Then we see a woman, then we start to scrutinise her feature, then the camera moves to a close up, we see a woman whose afflictions are imprinted on her emotive face and while the plot unfolds we learn more about this character who is the main part of the narrative and everything revolves around her. In this opening the main character is depicted as a monster that could easily belong to a horror feature length film and the unsettling non- diegetic ominous ambient music reinforce this notion.
Krisha (Krisha Fairchild) a woman in her 60s visit her estranged family after many years of absence. The plot at first seems a very simplistic and lacking any dramatic tension, but as the film progresses we learn more about Krisha’s addiction and how it has affected her family. Trey Edward Shults consciously withheld a lot of the information about its main character until two third of the film, when the film starts to descent into much darker territories and the editing and camera work becomes more apprehensive and kinetic.
Krisha is a micro budget film made by first time director Trey Edward Shults who interned for Terence Malick in Tree of life (2011), Weigtless (2017) and Voyage of time (2016) as a post-production intern, that is the reason Krisha is aesthetically influence from Malick’s own film especially in its cinematography and the effect of floating camera. Other very important influence is John Cassavetes’s A Woman Under the Influence (1974), which also has an unstable lead character and it’s also about the way her unusual behaviour affects her close relatives.
Krisha is a very troubled character and she is portrayed by Krisha Fairchild in a very affecting and poignant way, and even though we as viewers realise that she has hurt her own family with her addiction we still feel sympathy for her plights. Krisha is a very tense film, it can easily be experienced as a modern horror film, as the musical score in many occasions is very ominous, and it works as a generic horror musical score but lacking the use of jump scares, the score leaves the viewers guessing when everything will go awry and drama will erupt in the two storey family house.
When it eventually happens, it is a horrifying sight, because it is depicted with such realism and great performances even though the family members are not played by classical trained actors but they are the directors real relatives, which is something astounding especially from the effortless performances that they give and for a moment we do not realise we are watching amateur actors.
As the film reaches its crescendo in the third part, as Krisha reveals her true self and starts to lose her bearing so does the film with the erratic editing, the interchange of diegetic and non-diegetic music. All this culminate with Krisha meltdown, which show just how she is still an addict who cannot control herself and keeps hurting the only people who still wants to help her, her own family.