The Acid House (1998)

When seven degrees of separation is not enough!

Based off the anthology stories of Irvine Welsh (Trainspotting) and provides three seemingly unconnected stories. These stories are set in the same place in Edinburgh and viewers will actually notice several background characters in the three stories, evidencing that these tales take place in the same shared world.

As can be expected with the works of Welsh, many complex themes run through the stories from poverty, despair and God to the reality of bad luck and bad choices. Viewers can chose to take a moral from the story or simply sit back and be entertained by the drama unfolding before them.

The first story we meet Boab, down on his luck and its getting worse! Styled as a comedy the story unfolds as Boab is no longer welcome at home so that his parents can get up to some sexual hijinks. The life of Boab continues to spiral downwards over the course of just a single day until the conclusion of this tale. A story that shows no matter how bad things are, they always have the potential to get worse and we should be positive about the things we do have rather than obsess over the things we don’t have; or even the things we lose.

Inspired by “The Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka, the story is a stark study in how one event can quickly snowball as each thing that goes wrong on this day isn’t a great deal, when taken individually; however it is the cumulative effects that really conspire to make this a front runner for “worst day ever!”

Next we  experience a short story about a meek husband. His wife is engaged in a affair with Larry from the upstairs apartment, who is also stealing his electricity. It is the utter feeling of helplessness towards his own life that brings the true despair to this tale. The three characters in this story all have major issues and it’s hard to feel sympathy for the proposed antagonist of in this tale of woe. From start to finish the viewer with be left questioning the choices of all the characters as bad decisions take there toll. At some point we are expecting the main character to push back as he his repeatedly belittled by those around him.

Finally we have the titular “Acid House” a bizarre tale involving drugs, transformation and the natural elements. Whilst this is undoubtably a disturbing tale it’s probably the best of all three tales. We witness a really bad trip from the drug LSD and the transformations that follow that lead to very uncertain feelings about what you’ve just seen.

Those familiar with the works of Irvine Welsh will be used to this style; however newcomers will be shocked by the dialogue and surrounding of lower class decay. Most characters filling their days with sex, drink and drugs to survive their squalid existence; all while God walks among them and playing puppet master. Overall, viewers searching for meaning in The Acid House will state the very poverty that the characters live in or the religious undertones throughout; however it is a completely open-ended interpretation and only Welsh himself knows the messages that these stories are trying to tell.