Joe Badon’s THE GOD INSIDE MY EAR is an extremely ambitious, well-crafted debut feature. I approached this viewing with no real knowledge of what I was in for and, honestly, I don’t think anyone could have done it justice in words. I’m wondering if I can give it a try. From the very beginning, there is a lot of psychedelic imagery and ambient drones, setting the tone for the phantasmagorical 120-minute jaunt into madness that is THE GOD INSIDE MY EAR. The best way that I can really explain it is in Hollywood pitch speak, so I would say, in my opinion, this film is what would happen if Kenneth Anger, Luis Bunuel, and David Lynch were given a romantic comedy script by John Waters and Douglas Sirk and were told “Here! Do whatever you want!”
Although the film does have a narrative, it is a bit disjointed, and it’s better to not really expect anything to come to the conclusion you think it is. The basic plot revolves around Elizia (Linnea Gregg, Anne Dark, The Night They Knocked) a young woman who experiences a break-up with a hippie-Jesus lookalike, Fred (Joseph Estrade, who also serves as editor, producer, and more for this film). He has apparently gone a bit off his rocker and seems to have decided to join a cult instead of carry on his relationship with Elizia. She has a very hard time dealing with the break-up but it seems that whatever kind of madness Fred descended into is contagious because it’s not too long before she starts down the same path that he did. Originally a seemingly normal, if not boring, employee of the Fashion Style Mart Hut (which as a child grown up in the rural-turned-strip-mall South, I greatly appreciate the name of this store), Elizia quickly becomes unhinged, to say the least. After several visits to all kinds of doctors and psychics and all kind of attempts from her friends to help, we start to believe that maybe there is some truth to the boatloads of strange phenomena that she is experiencing.
Elizia tries all she can to stop her descent into madness, and there are times where we think she’s going to succeed, but ultimately, her trajectory takes her to somewhere I would have never expected. Along the way, we get all sorts of fun surprises, and tropes from almost every single subgenre of horror one could imagine. With beautiful music, particularly “Elizia’s Song” by Tevia Schroeder, beautiful camerawork from DP Daniel Waghorne, and great performances from the supporting cast (I enjoy Colin Galyean as Dr. Flemming in particular), I commend the tremendous effort this relatively small team put into making something of great quality.
Sometimes, being a jaded cynic who’s seen hundreds if not thousands of low budget horror films makes one want to write off stuff pretty quickly, especially if it’s made by people you’ve never personally heard of, but sometimes you get rewarded. This is thankfully one of those times. This film is, if nothing else, a wonderfully twisted metaphor of what it means to experience loss, while also being a cinematic acid (or ayuascha) trip that defies explanation. I implore you to check out THE GOD INSIDE MY EAR. Support independent filmmakers! Keep film weird!