Reviewed by Michael Talbot-Hayes for


NOTE: Spoilers included in this review

Old-school indie meets cutting-edge AI to make the damnedest paper dolls you have ever seen in auteur Antero Alli’s latest out-there feature Blue Fire. Psychology professor Timolean Paige (Douglas Allen) has disturbing dreams of a car going off a cliff. He awakens to a door knock with the news his parents’ car went off a cliff. His lover and student Dana (Kasia Caravello) comes over to comfort him, as the dream aspect has him very unnerved.

After a time, he is visited by Sam (Bryan Smith), who is inquiring about a room Tim is renting. While blasting death metal on his earbuds, Sam informs Tim that he is very quiet and will be working for long hours by himself. Sam says he is an AI coder doing work for Elon Musk, so he can easily afford the room. He also says Dana is strangely beautiful and asks for a picture he can make art from. Dana is creeped out by Sam and tells Tim she doesn’t trust him. Dana then has a dream where Sam appears as a cloaked demon over an altar. Meanwhile, Sam has a dream about a dancing ghost-faced woman who splits into two, which catches his fancy.

Sam proceeds to start coding on his laptop while smoking pipe loads of high-powered salvia. He is overwhelmed with splendid visions and runs out of his room, wrapped in a blanket like a superhero cape. Dana ends up finding Sam dancing in the middle of oncoming traffic, zapping out of his gourd. Alli bills Blue Fire as a cyber-fi fever dream, which is a more than apt description of genre expectation. Yes, the biggest narrative moves are technically science fiction, but in an intellectual manner as opposed to traditional jumpsuits and laser kicks. Also, as we find ourselves planted smack dab in the near future, everything presented here is technically possible now. All of this takes a backseat to a lot of deep-dive dialogue into Jungian psychology. Don’t let the denseness of the Jungian discourse turn you off, as this train’s destination is mind-peeling psychedelia. Blue Fire is another worthy installment in the oeuvre of Alli’s cinematic mind expansion. 



The real treat is the spells used from Kenneth Anger’s underground film magick book. Using acid-tinged silent movie splendor, Alli catches Anger’s subversive Babylonian decadence. The spectacles have an ethereally fun energy like those of Rabbit’s Moon and Inauguration of a Pleasure Dome. It is to Alli’s credit how well he wove the avant-garde visions into a coherent storyline, strengthening both. The final images are especially spellbinding and tint your entire perspective of what you just watched, just like the cosmic climax in The Manitou. It sounds as good as it looks as well, as Sylvi Alli delivers another one of her signature gothic drone scores.

If you are Jung at heart, you will have a field day. If you are like me and only know Jung as the dream guy, you will still be able to keep up with the plot. Especially once the hallucinogens are rolled out. Despite being completely legal, salvia is one of the most intense reality-breaking experiences out there. By depicting a computer programmer tripping balls to get to coding breakthroughs, Alli delivers one of the most genuine representations of a software developer yet. It isn’t by accident Activision hired Dr. Timothy Leary as a consultant 4 decades ago. Much of how we talk about and experience cyberspace had its architecture designed by LSD revelations way back. Alli acknowledges these roots while pointing out how inspiration from visionary trips may still further be used as tools to get to the next level of reality via technology.

Reality takes a beating in Blue Fire. While the narrative skips along, it is the non-narrative experimental factors that are the roadside attraction here. Alli continues his mission to single-handedly bring superimposition back as an expressionistic tool. There is a startlingly effective image of a toy car superimposed over the POV shots of plunging off a cliff. The doubling of the dancing spirits dancing over each other gives a reason in the storyline, which is an impressive balance of style and substance

Don’t let the denseness of the Jungian discourse turn you off, as this train’s destination is mind-peeling psychedelia. Blue Fire is another worthy installment in the oeuvre of Alli’s cinematic mind expansion. 

Michael Talbot-Hayes for


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