I have always greatly respected the Chattanooga Film Festival. Their selections are always some of the best indie fare out there. Juan Ortiz’ second film FINGERS is no exception. It has an extremely complex plot that manages to come to a satisfying conclusion in less than 90 minutes, which may sound simple, but I guarantee you, it isn’t.
FINGERS begins with a focus on Amanda Flynn (Sabrina Friedman-Seitz, The Florida Project), the co-founder of a mental health app with her husband Peter (Alex Zuko, House of Cards). While being the face of a self-help company, Amanda suffers serious anxiety, which manifests itself in illogical fears. A scene illustrates this by showing her running out of a donut shop and throwing the whole box of donuts she just bought in the trash because the woman who served them had a birthmark on her hand. She also has an irrational fear of short black men. A lot of her fears can be seen as an allegory for xenophobia in white America, or I’m reading too much into it, but I prefer to go with the first assumption.
Amanda’s fears truly go through the roof when a computer programmer at work, Walter (Stan Madray, On Set) shows up to work missing a pinky finger, and the next day, another finger is gone. Amanda doesn’t know how to handle her problems but her friend recommends a psychiatrist for her to go see, Dr. Scotty (Michael Richardson in his debut film role). Dr. Scotty is essentially a mash-up of Tony Robbins, Dr. Phil, Dr. Laura et. al. He’s written a self-help book and his entire motto is to “kill your fears”.
Amanda starts to work with Dr. Scotty’s book and in the process, discovers why Walter’s fingers have gone missing, which I won’t go into too much except it involves a guy in a creepy panda mask named Talky (Jeremy Gardner, Something Else, Bliss) and a disgruntled gangster named Fox (Michael St. Michaels, The Greasy Strangler). By the end, both Amanda and Walter have killed their fears in surprising ways.
FINGERS is one of the more intelligent indie horror films I’ve had the pleasure of watching in the past few months. Not to mention it’s exceptionally well shot by Christian Stella. Additionally, the Carpenter-esque music by Ryan Winford really sets the tense, weird mood of the film. I really hope that FINGERS gets distribution so that everyone can see it. It’s certainly funny, smart, and creepy enough to deserve being seen by a large audience. If you hear about it playing at a festival near you, please go check it out! It’s definitely worth it!