When you see that The Greasy Strangler’s Michael St Michaels is starring in a film called Fingers, there’s a…certain expectation of weirdness to come. While Juan Ortiz’s sophomore film rarely goes for the gross-out slime of Jim Hosking’s debut, it’s a sublimely strange experience in its own right that fans of that dark, baffling humour should absolutely hunt down.
Amanda (Sabina Friedman-Stentz) is a woman on the edge, prone to debilitating panic at the sight of any number of things. A birthmark, an African-American small person (she’s not racist, she hastens to add), but what she’s absolutely unable to cope when one of her employees, an unassuming fellow named Walter (Stan Madray), comes in missing a finger. And then, the next day, he comes in missing another one, and the same thing the next day…what on earth is happening to Walter? Where are his fingers going?
Although the wilful, high-energy eccentricity threatens to topple the whole endeavour early on, patience is rewarded as Ortiz begins to open things up a little bit. We meet Amanda’s therapist who’s got his eye on turning her phobias into some kind of TV show, but things really click when the film brings in Jeremy Gardner’s unhinged gopher Talky, who’s tormenting poor Walter on orders from St Michaels’ Fox. Switching from mellow aesthete to violent monster on a whim, money doesn’t seem to be particularly important to Talky. He’s driven by an almost baffled curiosity, wanting to see how far both he and Walter can go together on this torturous journey, hand in increasingly digit-less hand.
Once Amanda pushes through her fears and begins to take control of her life, the ensuing mind-games she initiates with an unwitting Talky begin. As he begins to lose his cool, she somehow finds her calling, and this world of weirdos and misfits begins to feel like a nightmarish Miranda July movie, in the best possible way, packed with wonderful performances. Fingers will absolutely not be for everyone but the target audience (hey, you know who you are) will have a blast.
Fingers was seen and reviewed at Arrow Video FrightFest 2019.