The Daily Stream: DimLand Is The Perfect Exploration Of Why … – /Film

(Welcome to The Daily Stream, an ongoing series in which the /Film team shares what they’ve been watching, why it’s worth checking out, and where you can stream it.)
The Movie: “DimLand”
Where You Can Stream It: Tubi, Paramount+
The Pitch: After years of directing short films and music videos for artists like Noname, Saba, and Chance the Rapper, Peter Collins Campbell made his feature directorial debut with the unsettling and deeply moving independent film “DimLand.” The story follows a young woman named Brynn (Martha Brown), who in an attempt to shake off the current cloud of melancholy plaguing her existence, decides that she and her boyfriend, Laika (Odinaka Ezeokoli), will take a trip to her uncle’s summer cottage for some much-needed stress relief and emotional healing. Upon arrival, the two quickly realize that things at the house have changed quite a bit since they last visited. The cabin has been updated and modernized, destroying any hope Brynn had for the warm embrace of nostalgia. After a few days, things appear to be as depressing at the house as they were back home, that is until the couple meets an unexpected visitor. While this sounds like the start of a horror film, there are no masked slashers — only a strange and borderline whimsical entity named Rue (Nate Wise), that resembles a man wearing an owl-like mask and claims to have known Brynn for a very, very long time.

In the age of streaming and an oversaturation of available films, a movie like “DimLand” runs the risk of being lost in the shuffle. As of publication, “DimLand” has a whopping two reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, which is a genuine shame considering it’s precisely the kind of film people on Film Twitter would fall in love with and share ad nauseam. The power of “DimLand” exists in its stillness, speaking its message with a quiet, reflective tone rather than with the sound of bombastic trumpets.
Brynn is struggling. She’s hitting that emotional vortex that so many people raised to prepare for a reality that no longer exists have felt trapped within for years. As she returns to her family’s summer home, she reconnects with a fantastical world just outside of view, one that she had forgotten had ever existed. “DimLand” is interesting in that it blends harsh realism with the magic of childhood wonderment, the adult quest for escapism, and tinges of unexpected horror. It sounds like a cheap and easy comparison, but “DimLand” feels like the result of a mentally-ill millennial’s fever dream after binge-watching Studio Ghibli films, and I say this as a compliment.
“DimLand” provides feelings of devastating familiarity, intertwined with the curious adventure of childlike imagination. When Brynn first enters the DimLand once again, she tells Rue, “Sometimes the world feels like if you’re not built right, it’s designed to hurt you.” It’s a sentiment that so many can empathize with and serves as the emotional center of Peter Collins Campbell’s film. The world is a tough, terrible place sometimes, and it’s okay to recognize how hard it is — and crave something else.

“DimLand” is constantly playing with contradictions and subversions. The film is set in the reality we know so well, but features an other-worldly fantasy land existing right in front of our eyes. Rue is both comforting and incredibly creepy, drawing in Brynn while repelling Laika. Even the way “DimLand” is shot from a technical level feels like a contradiction, with some moments looking like something straight out of an A24 movie, and others boasting the DIY-ethos of Midwest filmmakers armed with a camera and a forest just before winter. There’s something beautiful about the way the film exists in an implacable space between contradictions, without ever feeling “mid” or “centrist” in its delivery.
Simply put, “DimLand” is an innovative, powerful, and fascinating example of the tenacity of independent filmmaking. The film takes its time with its characters and environment, which might not work for someone expecting a fantasy film traveling at breakneck speed, but part of why Peter Collins Campbell’s film works so well is how it forces the audience to sit in discomfort and process their own emotions alongside Brynn and Laika. As the weight of the world is suffocating multiple generations, “DimLand” quietly reminds us that there’s magic among us, even if we’ve forgotten how to find it.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *