5 October 2015 | Shadowplayed
The Damned Thing
The Damned Thing is an adaptation of Ambrose Bierce's short story by the same name. The source material is supernatural and metaphysical in nature with strong comic or rather sarcastic undertones. It deals with human relationship with nature, the fear of the unknown and destiny.
Branko Plesa's film is very literal adaptation, down to the setting and costumes. It looks to be set in the American midwest, so the actors are dressed in typical western movie outfits. This film starts with the death of a hunter, a lonely man who has built his cabin in the marshes and spent his feverish, insomnia stricken nights wide awake hunting - something. Upon his death the inquest has been held to determine the cause and circumstances surrounding it.
Local men have gathered in the cabin, but besides the state of hunter's corpse, shredded pieces of clothing, his diary entries and vague testimony by his friend - who is the only witness - this death is surrounded by mystery.
The film will slowly deal with all these 'facts' some of which are hard to explain and digest, thus unraveling the supernatural nature of it. Late hunter has encountered an unknown, invisible force which he called 'the damned thing', tried to fight it and chase it off his property but lost the battle. And lost the war.
The source material is cryptic so this low budget film stepped into 'arty' territory, no special effects to speak of, indoor shots and dialogue, wildlife footage, and outdoor flashbacks to help us understand the timeline of events and this man's life philosophy and his fate. As we often compare the book and the movie, gotta say, Bierce's masterful and enigmatic short story wins this one. The adaptation 'Prokletinja' is not a bad film but far from the brightest star in ex Yu filmography.