Setting the scene with a desaturated drone shot of a cold and dead winter day, Fugue is an eerie and pale portrait of a rural haunting. Directed, written, and shot by Chris Bilodeau, the film artfully tells the story of two girls who are connected by something intangible and paranormal. Rebecca (Abigail Bilodeau), a little girl from the 1920s, finds a way to communicate with Anna (Haley Bilodeau), a similarly aged girl living in her house in modern times. Despite warnings from her father (Chris Bilodeau), Anna continues to explore this uncharted realm, leading her down a dangerous path.
The natural chemistry between each actor makes it apparent that the film was made by a collaborative and supportive family. Abigail and Haley Bilodeau’s performances aren’t overdone or exaggerated. They exhibit a confidence and composure that is impressive for their young ages and can probably be thanked to the familiar space they were working within.
A contrast between warm and cool light sources fill almost every shot with a cozy yet haunting feel. This soft yet mystifying atmosphere contributes to the uncertainty of whether Rebecca’s paranormal presence can be trusted. The camera also maintains whimsical movements throughout the film. With pans, zooms, and quick cuts, it feels as if the lens is dancing, furthering the off-kiltered and unstable mood of the story.
While Fugue shines in cinematography, it is rather lackluster in the sound department. The dialogue sounds unmixed and muffled bringing down the overall production value a few notches. While poor execution in other areas can sometimes be overlooked, sound is something that stands out immediately. Even though the horror ambience and score are woven into the narrative in an almost seamless manner, the dullness in the actors’ voices pull the audience out of the film’s trance.
Given the fact that Bilodeau took on every role in production, Fugue achieved many stylistic and technical feats. Bilodeau’s auteur-like endeavors show a promising future in filmmaking, which is confirmed by the number of selections and awards the film has received.