Under The Rainbow is only writer/director Luke Ramer’s second film, and his first feature-length, but you’d never know it when watching. Between the extremely well-written script, the top-notch acting from a cast of amateurs, and some great visuals through the trippy story, Ramer grabs us and forced our jump down the rabbit hole.
Under The Rainbow follows the story of Vivi (newcomer Rae Labadie, in a stand-out first performance), a drug-addicted 17-year-old who lives with her alcoholic, mess of an uncle after her mother died during childbirth. After an attempted suicide that she can’t fully remember, Vivi awakens to find herself in a strange and dangerous other world. She is rescued from a lunatic Jester, a hunter for the Queen of this new world, by a man named Vilmos, who believes that Vivi could be the savior of his world, a girl whose arrival was foretold by The Prophet. It doesn’t take Vivi long to realize that the only way for her to get answers and find a way back to her world is to confront the Queen, and discover the dark secrets of her life.
Although the film’s story revolves heavily around drug use (both the main character and her best friend are portrayed as constant drug users, and the “Rainbow” to which the title refers is also a drug, capable of transporting people between the worlds), but doesn’t play as some preachy cautionary tale, nor conversely as a pro-drug statement, either – which is something that many films, even psychedelic ones like this, have a hard time accomplishing. There always seems to be a lean one way or another, whereas here, it’s merely a plot device.
Despite very few acting credits among the main cast, everyone in the film was perfect, especially lead Rae Labadie, and also Brian Dibonaventure, who played the silent Jester. His maniacal look as he wipes blood over his mask and lips was incredible, a true visual that shows not only Dibonaventure’s ability to portray real evil behind an expressionless mask, but also Ramer’s ability to capture exceptional, beautiful, and graphic shots for his film.
The film features several scenes of brutal violence with decent amounts of gore, but I wouldn’t consider this a straight horror film. Instead, Ramer has created something else entirely – a dark, twisted, psychedelic tale of violence, with equal elements of horror and fantasy. A truly beautiful, thought-provoking piece of underground cinema, Under The Rainbow is a serious trip.