The idea of a birthday being unlike any other is intriguing in that it opens the door to the unknown; and as such, the emphasis on details such as turning nineteen and celebrating at the exact time of birth have a peculiar yet compelling quality to them. A quality that conveys that things are not what they seem and that Alison’s birthday is not so much a celebration as it is a time of reliving and reexperiencing the past, as her dream of a satanic ritual indicates. It is a moment that depicts the allure of the demon Mirna as well as the means by which her power is invoked; it is a scene that comes to mind in that although Alison has no knowledge of her parents, she is given an insight into her relatives’ involvement in the ritual. Given that they’re coming to visit for her birthday, its significance is all the more apparent.
Alison’s boyfriend, Peter, is of particular interest. This is due to the fact that he suspects that Alison’s aunt and uncle are holding her against her will and goes out of his way to obtain information regarding Alison’s parents and Mirna. By doing so, he is uncovering the past, which, in addition to confirming his suspicions, is complementary to Alison’s dream. This is noteworthy in that there is a parallel between the two characters in light of their interaction early on, in which they shed light on their perception of the supernatural, which, considering the role that Mirna plays, is such that her allure can’t be ignored. If anything, it illustrates that Alison’s experience with an ouija board has left quite an impression, and in addition, the allure is so strong that it motivates Peter to uncover the past. It is as though he can’t help himself, even if it means risking his life.
There are scenes of terror and eeriness, scenes that stand out because not only do they take place during the daytime, but they also serve as an appetizer to the titular event. With this in mind, the moment in which Alison’s uncle states that she must fulfill her destiny speaks to how the cult operates as well as the fact that interference is frowned upon. Such is the case during Peter’s encounter with a few cult members, a scene that is active, yet it has a palpable sense of danger to it; a scene in which Peter’s determination to thwart the enemies’ plans is unmistakable. It is an absolute nail-biter, and given that it takes place against the backdrop of an abandoned graveyard, Peter’s fate in that moment couldn’t be more uncertain.
I’ve been meaning to see Alison’s Birthday for some time, and I must say that I found it rather engaging. I can’t deny that it treads familiar territory, but it does so in a way that it puts the outcome of a seemingly inconsequential event in the limelight, making for some good twists. I have a feeling that I’ll look back fondly on the film in this respect, and I don’t see myself forgetting it anytime soon.
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