SHAPELESS (2021) Reviews and overview of eating disorder horror

 

Shapeless is a 2021 American horror drama film about a young woman suffering from a terrifying eating disorder.

Directed by Samantha Aldana from a screenplay co-written by Kelly Murtagh and Bryce Parsons-Twesten. Produced by Lizzie Guitreau, R. Todd Campbell, William Ramsey, Brian C. Miller Richard.

Out in public, Ivy is a New Orleans lounge singer trying to make a name for herself. When alone, though, she suffers from a terrifying eating disorder. And the more she hides her struggles, the stronger her inner demons become.

The Water Meter Productions movie stars Kelly Murtagh, Bobby Gilchrist, Jamie Neumann, Marco Dapper, Erika Ashley, Gralen Bryant Banks.

Reviews:

” …there’s importance in Shapeless‘s storytelling, especially in these social media-heavy times where body dysmorphia runs rampant, but its insistence on allegorical imagery only lends itself to its misguided personality. Presenting Ivy’s ailment in the form of body horror makes perfect sense, but the brief glimpses of this feel occasionally like an afterthought…” The Au Review

“Aldana uses horror to cast a spotlight on the invasive, all-consuming nature of an eating disorder. Yet, she plays it too safe with the genre elements, preferring to let the drama raise the emotional stakes. Shapeless is visually engaging, and Murtagh keeps you invested, but it’s so hyper-focused on Ivy’s descent that everything else feels superfluous and superficial.” Bloody Disgusting

“Without a firm grasp on the basic formula behind such a flick, the creators end up making a mess – which this film is, unfortunately. Again, this is no disrespect to Kelly Murtagh, who carries all the film’s depth as both the lead and the writer drawing from personal experience. Shapeless covers an important topic, but more was needed to tell a good story.” Cultured Vultures

“Everything in the world of the film feels too distant and underdeveloped. The central theme of lacking a shape feels under-explored and could’ve used more fleshing out. If the film had played more tacitly with the idea of lacking a body or identity, its emotional arc may have hit harder. And Ivy, as a character, feels lacking in motivation and background.” Loud and Clear

Release:

Shapeless had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival in June 2021.

Co-writer and lead Kelly Murtagh’s statement:

Shapeless is based deeply on my personal experience. Growing up, I loved to sing and as a young girl who never quite felt like she belonged, singing was my authenticity, respite & belonging. As I moved into my teenage years, depression and anxiety pummeled me.

In response, I developed bulimia at the age of fourteen. I didn’t decide to do it, it just sprouted from a necessity to feel better. Then I spiralled further, addicted to the feelings binging, purging & restricting gave me. I never heard anyone talk openly about eating disorders & learned not to talk about ‘those things’. Those things, being my mental health issues.

​After suffering in silence for many years I finally went to treatment. But real healing came later when I began writing Shapeless. The art of collaborating allowed me to be vulnerable. Each time I opened up, my shame lessened a little. As lead actor, portraying Ivy is the work I am proudest. My ultimate ‘screw you’ to shame. I’ve lost friends because when they relapsed shame silenced them. Shame killed them.

Shapeless is an invitation to the mental health conversation. We hope to inspire others to have their own uncomfortable, life-saving conversations. Because now is the time to talk about those things.”

Cast and characters:

Kelly Murtagh … Ivy
Bobby Gilchrist … Oscar
Jamie Neumann … Addie
Erika Ashley … Maggie
Gralen Bryant Banks … Charles
Marco Dapper … Dylan
Craig Leydecker … Chris
Zardis Nichols … Marion
Ernest Wells … Rich
Jo-Ann Robinson … Marcy
Sherri Eakin … Ellen
Deneen Tyler … Doctor Katherine Kneale
Casandra Corrales … Dara
Tenea Intriago … Riss

Filming locations:

New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

Technical details:

88 minutes

Teaser trailer: