An anxiety ridden man retreats to the woods with his cat in hopes of discovering how to turn any metal into gold. After attempts with elemental science, he quickly turns to alchemaic magic and summons the devil Belial who takes possession of the man.
Dialogue is important to me - especially when scenery is limited. A good dialogue (for example from Toni Morrison to Quentin Tarantino) will capture the audience an hold them for hours without blinking. The dialogue in The Alchemist's Cookbook gave me time to check my Twitter account ... twice.
I assumed this film could be an ad-lib or improvised performance, but I'm certain that isn't true. This is the first work I've watched from Joel Potrykus. He seems to be motivated by the horror genre which I would love to see in most writers. The problem is Potrykus' attempt to connect it with the real world. There are things in reality that one does not need an imagination to view as horrific - But the translation of mythology to realism eludes many people and (award-winner or not) Joel Potrykus is one of them.
The Alchemist Cookbook seeks to rely on the performance of a single actor, that being Ty Hickson. I'm not familiar with Hickson but I want to guess his character is far removed from himself. While the acting isn't anything to scoff over (It's not easy pretending to be alone staring into a mirror while a camera is on you) - I have no idea who Sean is, what he does or did, or even why he's in the situation we find him in. Sean is a void. He's a man in the woods with a cat, so I had to figure him to be the proverbial "crazy cat-lady" that has vacated society because of her crippling obsessions.
That being - There's a desperate need to understand how a crazy cat-lady got to be where she is. Who was Sean before he became a crazy cat-lady? How about something simple like, "What happened to your leg?".
All in all - I didn't enjoy this movie. I wouldn't recommend it for anyone. But I felt I had to leave more than a simple "Don't Bother It's Terrible" review. Some people do that without explanation so I'll watch the film anyway to decide for myself. This movie, specifically, isn't horror - it's not drama - I don't know where to place it besides (maybe) a film school experiment.
You've been warned.