- Rev Horror
Spaghetti Junction: Boston Underground Film Festival
Dir. Kirby McClure (2023)
A young girl finds a missing, injured boy called “The Traveler,” and she decides to go on a journey of self-discovery to help him realize his destiny.
CAUTION: MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS
Spaghetti Junction, filmmaker Kirby McClure’s first feature, is named after the tangled mess of highway entrances and exits that often occur in major metropolitan areas. The roads appear to be a jumbled, thrown-together conglomeration of ramps that resemble the popular Italian staple in that one cannot be separated from the other, each strand seemingly interconnected with each other, just as tangled strand. Designing a film around this concept, that each person’s story is interconnected with the other and there are a thousand different ways that each life can turn out, is an interesting idea, especially for a science fiction film. Unfortunately, much like it’s interstate reference, Spaghetti Junction is often confusing and convoluted.
The performances within the film are not bad, especially from lead actress Cate Hughes, who plays a young girl named August who has recently lost a leg in a car accident that also (probably) resulted in the death of her mother. She is learning to live life with her new disability, while at the same time trying to learn to live life itself as a young woman transitioning into the burgeoning stages of adulthood. Her father (Cameron McHarg) is doing his best to navigate the perils of parenting two teenage daughters while balancing a clearly-out-of-control alcoholism with the recent loss of his wife. His older daughter Shiny (Eleanore Miechkowski) will likely be the worst person featured at the Boston Underground Film Festival, and this is having already seen a movie about a pathological liar who deliberately gives herself a flesh-eating disease simply to get attention. She is annoying as all hell, but then again, she’s a teenage girl so I guess that’s fitting.
The Being (or The Traveler, depending on who you’re listening to, played by Tyler Rainey) is a missing teenage boy who is currently living in the sewers, and who mysteriously might hold the key to saving humanity. The Reverend (Butch Copeland) is the Morpheus in this pseudo-Matrix film, trying to give The Being a key that will help him save mankind while also seeking to get a taste of the power that The Being holds inside himself. All of these storylines blend together to create a movie that has potential but suffers from a world that is never fully able to be built and aspirations that are perhaps a bit too high for a feature debut. That does not, however, mean that McClure is not almost up to the task: He’s an incredibly competent filmmaker, as evident by the beauty in the majority of the shots within Spaghetti Junction. His ability is unquestionable, and while this one wasn’t up my alley, I have no question that he’s got a long career ahead.
Critiques aside, I also have to mention that I’m not a big science fiction fan and readily admit that that may well color my perspective on the film. I can appreciate it for what it is, and I definitely can see the makings of a fantastic film within the pieces of Spaghetti Junction, but I also understand and appreciate my own bias to know that just because I didn’t love a film, especially within the science fiction genre, that others won’t either. It’s a gorgeous movie with fantastic performances, and it feels very much like a film that could have been made by Benson & Moorhead (The Endless, Something in the Dirt). It’s a movie about endless possibilities, the idea that taking any chosen road can lead to any number of possible outcomes. It’s a movie about worlds within worlds and infinite choices, a chaotic potentiality that is worth exploring. It’s a great concept, even if it didn’t live up to its fullest potential with the film.
Who this movie is for: Science fiction fans, Matrix fans, Keymasters
Bottom line: Beautiful film, not-so-beautiful plotlines. McClure has some serious talent, and I fully believe in his ability to utilize that talent in the future, but this one wasn’t quite a hit for me. The actors did a fantastic job and the concept had legs, but the film never fully reached its potential. The film is showing at the Boston Underground Film Festival, and it’s a perfect place to show it for other fans of weird cinema. I hope it gains an audience, because I’d love to see what director Kirby McClure does next