A dying cell phone leads to panic leads to attempted abduction leads to confrontation with Lovecraftian monster leads to pursuit from all sides and all things — Wagner drops you in at the deep end and the only thing you can be certain of is that it is, in fact, very deep indeed. His crisply-drawn narrative lends itself to myriad interpretations, none of them pleasant — is an NSA-type agency behind this? Is the horror being transmitted into the real world via app? Is the whole thing a Lynchian dream? — but if you’re looking for concrete answers, you’ve come to the wrong place. There are no hard-and-fast explanations to be had, but there is a resolution to this story, of sorts — however, it’s a temporary one on its face. You can easily see this scene playing out over and over again to just about anybody, admittedly fantastical and OTT as it is — or isn’t?
Ah yes, the art — as multi-layered as the narrative, and every bit as dense. Wagner blends surrealism and concrete realism so seamlessly that any demarcation points between the two are swept up, swept aside, and ultimately swept away. His shading, his color choices, his cinematic composition, his eye for details large and small — this is a guy who doesn’t cut corners, even if his corners are as necessarily fluid as anything else he depicts. Indeed, solid and well-defined as his objects and people are creatures are, there’s a palpable sense that any of them can be converted into digital signals at any moment and dissipate into the netherscape of what’s purported to be “pure information.” — but is so often anything but.