The Mold Knows
Ian Folivor (Adrian DiGiovanni) is a depressed and reclusive 30-something who finds himself taking advice from a growth in his bathroom after a failed suicide attempt. The Mold is a fungus that talks smoothly and who was born from the filth collecting in a corner of Ian’s neglected bathroom. It works to win Ian’s trust by helping him clean himself up and remodel his lifestyle. (Yes, I am serious). With The Mold’s help, Ian is able to attract the attention of, Leah (Danielle Doetsch), a neighbor he’s been ogling through his peephole.
Ian and Leah actually find some happiness despite his unnatural circumstances. But then Ian suddenly starts to receive strange messages from his old and broken down TV set and they make him realize that The Mold may not be as helpful as it seems to be. Then strange characters and even stranger events push Ian’s life into an epic battle between good and evil that Ian is only partially aware of. Ian is a slob who hasn’t left his couch in ages and it his broken TV (that he has named Kent) that propels him to act. Without Kent, his best friend, Ian begins talking first to the audience and then after a terrible and traumatic event, he talks to the Mold (Jeffrey Combs).
The Mold calls Ian by the name Jack and tries to help him deal with life without Kent as well as how to deal with events that he has to face. These include the creepy TV repairman (Ken Brown), a violent landlord (Pete Giovagnoli), a mouthy delivery woman (Hannah Stevenson) and Leah. Somehow Ian not only cleans up his act (and face), he cleans up the apartment. Yes, there are some really sick and gross-out scenes so this is not a movie to watch while eating. You will be surprised how dirty Ian and his apartment are and, in fact, it just might be a catalyst for cleaning the house. This is certainly not a feel-good flick. Think about this—how many films have you seen when the main character becomes best friends with slimy, dirty mold?
Ian hasn’t left his apartment in over a year— he sleeps on the couch, letting food waste and garbage pile up around him as he sits glued to his cabinet style TV set for the majority of his day. He doesn’t set alarms to be woken up and he rarely bathes, For Ian, life has become a struggle and he cannot even seem to be able to lift himself from the couch to go and use the bathroom. On the day that we meet Ian, he decided to kill himself via a toxic mixture in his bathtub. However, when he stands up on his counter to cover the exhaust, he slips and falls, hitting his head and passes out on the floor.
Only when he comes around does he notice that amid the grime and dirt of his small and disgusting bathroom, a huge mould has been growing. It also has a face; and it talks.
Ian and the mold come to terms and have a plan. The mold informs Ian that it has a plan but it will take a week to get it all together. has something in mind for Ian; it will take a week and it informs Ian that if he follows the plan, he will be rewarded. Ian does as he is told but something else is happening in his apartment—his interaction with the mold causes Ian to hallucinate and question the reality that the mold told him He begins to realize that the “motivational growth” in his bathroom may not have the best of intentions.
Watching the film is like watching live theatre with the entire film taking place in either Ian’s living room or the bathroom, the fourth wall removed. This set-up by Ian is the strongest part of the film; the description he gives of his depression is pretty uncomfortable due to its direct honesty. Yet, it is refreshing to see someone on the big screen describe something so painful and undeniably personal.
When the moves forward and strange things begin to happen, the movie seems to be trying a bit too hard and it begins to drag. Ian is lost in a world that is inhabited by watching too much TV, and he hallucinates himself as being a part of the programs. While this is completely bizarre, it almost seems entirely unnecessary to the rest of the movie, but once it reaches the end it seems to make sense.
Director Don Thacker has a unique vision in this bizarre film and even though it starts to lose its steam along the way, DiGiovanni’s mostly solo performance keeps it going strong.