If all low-budget fairy tales were this good, blockbuster makers Peter Jackson and Guillermo del Toro would be out of a job. Directed and written by Jamin Winans, Ink was a complete unknown until it was picked up by torrent download sites. It gained so much popularity on the Web that Winans thanked movie piracy for getting his film seen by millions of viewers after the big-budget movie studios had turned him down for not fitting into what they consider the “indie box.”
The science-fiction/fantasy film follows 8-year-old Emma (Quinn Hunchar) through a multidimensional netherworld after a disgusting monster named Ink has stolen her, intending to hand her over to dark forces. While Emma’s father John (Chris Kelly) is soulless and negligent, he’s her only hope for rescue.
On both sides of our world, those demons and the forces of light (who resemble hipsters) are engaged in battle. Back here on Earth, Emma is lying comatose in a hospital; in order for her to survive, John must reconnect with his own soul.
Ink continues to gain popularity on the Web and is now appearing in the DVD format.
With no studio backing and a low budget, the stunning visuals, computer-generated effects and glittering cinematography that Winans achieved on a shoestring elevates him nearly to the ranks of Stanley Kubrick and Ridley Scott.
While lacking in dialogue, Ink makes up for it with fight scenes and imagery that borrow from Pan’s Labyrinth and A Clockwork Orange. It’s headed toward becoming a cult classic.
Despite some deplorable dialogue, Ink is already being called the new Paranormal Activity even before that sci-fi indie has even left theaters (and despite the fact that Ink was released first).
The question isn’t whether Ink will become popular. The question is: What could Winans do with an actual budget?
Because Winans has already achieved what Jackson and del Toro have — and Winans did it without hundreds of millions of dollars. (Unrated)