Writer’s Block becomes a palpable fear

Heida Reed as Rita in Blank by Natalie Kennedy.

Heida Reed as Rita in Natalie Kennedy White.
Photo: Brainstorming Media

For a writer, there are few things more intimidating than a blank page. Creativity at its best comes organically, but books and articles live on deadlines, with a specified amount of copies required by a certain date. It is this anxiety that is at the heart of Natalie Kennedy’s film Whitebut it is far from being the only one.

Blocked novelist Claire (The word I‘s Rachel Shelley) has an old-fashioned answering machine — mostly because it’s awfully handy for exposure — full of messages from her agent asking to know where her next book is. Anxiously looking for a quick fix, she signs up for a 30-day retreat designed to help writers. The space isn’t all that different from his own sparsely furnished residence, but it comes with plenty of wine and a customizable Wayne Brady hologram. And it allows him to jog through dead trees every morning. AI and the two hand scanners aside, however, it mostly seems like a nice rustic retreat. No annoying humans are there to get in the way of the creative process, a feature that will eventually become quite a bug.

It also comes with a creepy android, because nothing fires the imagination quite like a super-powered sentient dummy named Rita (Icelandic actress Heida Reed, Poldark) who remains spooky in a corner after completing his daily tasks. The Clippy-ish Wayne Brady AI, whom Claire nicknames “Henry,” handles food orders, chess games, and casual conversations as needed.

Brady seems to have been chosen precisely because of the former Chappelle show joke about how he makes middle-aged white women feel comfortable, and it plays perfectly. Since she’s the same demographic that’s also likely to hate artificial-looking, platitudinous young women, Reed’s Rita is just as perfect, but not necessarily conducive to creativity. The title of the film could refer as much to her personality as to Claire’s empty page. As bland as Rita may seem, however, she at least knows her way around a broom and the kitchen.

When malware invades the safe space, erasing Rita’s daily memories, the robot becomes menacing, imprisoning Claire until she finishes her book. Of course, she is also called the one who decides what constitutes “finished”; as a fast reader, it can easily detect filler or plagiarism. With everything else in the building controlled by the AI ​​and Henry similarly degrading, Claire’s retreat turns into a prison. Of course, the pressure could be intentional – some sort of stress-based incentive calculated to motivate Claire specifically. Otherwise, it’s a death trap, especially when its food supplies start to run low.

The “feature film blurred area episode “the film subgenre still relies on sticking the landing – and White, by delving into the emotional life and subconscious of its main character, yields a more satisfying result than if it simply relied on plot mechanics. In addition to her outside pressures, Claire is plagued by nightmares of her tyrannical, blind mother Helen (producer Rebecca-Clare Evans), who forced her at a young age to serve as a typist, editor and sounding board for her own work. Evans’ classic monstrosity contrasts sharply with the calculated threat of Rita, wife of Stepford.

BLANK (2022) Official Trailer – Thriller Movie (HD)

At one point, Claire simply types “TheEndTheEndTheEnd” over and over, remembering the brilliant, and Repulsion also feels like an influence as dreams and reality blend together after his days of isolation. And casual viewers can see it as a disturbing parable about tech addiction. But especially for writers, much of this experience will feel as familiar as the blank page itself: the self-torture and the pressure, the ideas you can’t be sure your subconscious hasn’t stolen. , anyone’s lack of understanding outside of its process, looking within. Horror fans will watch White and perhaps fear the subtle threat in Rita’s relentless and disturbing suggestions that Claire might be stressed and should lie down. Those who deal with writer’s block in real life can hear their own excuses embedded in his voice.

White However, you don’t have to hit that particular level to resonate. The everyday frustrations of not being heard, the childhood trap set by a bad parent in which every choice is the wrong one, new tech toys that don’t quite work as they should – these are just a few- some of the relevant themes of the film. When the all-important moment of catharsis that any good horror movie demands arrives, it’s palpable. But writers and other types of creatives might feel it a bit more.