A very unusual and unknown film, A World Full of Secrets is kind of an endurance test for those expecting a traditional film because they don’t care how most films are made or what they expect. It follows its own path and in its composition almost resembles a student film.
Five teenage girls tell each other scary stories day and night and try to scare each other. But as night falls, the stories intensify and by the end of the night, the girls’ entire lives will change forever.
Five Waifish teenage girls (played by Helena Burger, Dennis Gregory, Ayla Gutman, Alexa Shae Nisiak and Violet Piper) hang out at home one afternoon and decide that each of them will tell the others a scary story to see who can tell the scariest story of all. Stories are told in their entirety, some lasting up to 20 minutes or more, straight from a character to the camera, and the camera never wanders away, and all the stories have something in common: They refer to violence against young women, some of them even going so far as to describe in detail how these women are raped, humiliated and/or murdered in a gruesome way. Between stories, the girls order a pizza or challenge each other to do strange things, like mocking fate to show them their future, or speculating about Lucifer in strange rituals. At the end of the night, the girls meet a fate that is left to the imagination of the viewer, but through the voice of one of the girls, which has aged, we learn that something unspeakable happened to them all night.
A very unusual and unknown film, A World Full of Secrets is kind of an endurance test for those expecting a traditional film because they don’t care how most films are made or what they expect. It follows its own path and in its composition almost resembles a student film. These are very long shots in which the young actresses deliver extremely long monologues (with mistakes that were not intentional). This is certainly brave on the part of writer/director Graham Swan, but it’s also annoying, especially since the dialogue seems to have been recorded and recited from memory like a play. The words never come out of the characters’ mouths, and the film suffers a lot from stilted delivery. However, the film appeals to you if you are patient and pay attention to details. There are clues as to how these girls are doing, and sometimes it feels very real and disturbing. Girls end up getting kidnapped? Tortured? Raped? Murdered? Who knows? Another strange and inexplicable aspect of the film is that for some reason it was shot in 1996. Why 1996? What about 1979? Or 1987? What’s a year? The fact that the film is narrated by an old woman gives the impression that the survivor of these events is looking far back in time to remember that fateful day, but 1996 seems too young. It’s one of those crazy choices director Swann makes, and I don’t mind it. There are some great moments in the film, but all in all it’s an odd duck.
The World is Full of Secrets was recently released on Blu-ray by Kino Lorber, and although the cover says nothing about the film, it includes an audio commentary by Swon, a deleted scene and trailer, and an insert booklet with an essay about the film.