CINEMA: A Heavenly Trip Toward Hell

Teen obsession animates a thrilling film from New Zealand

Obsession, when it takes hold, is not a fragrance but a lethal gas. It envelops and consumes us; it is all the air we breathe. It should make for an ideal film subject. But moviemakers rarely know what to do with obsession. They make it trivial, cartoonish. A superfiend itches to blow up the planet -- big hairy deal. An id-monster like Freddy Krueger dices and slices kids as they sleep. Zzzzzz!

Those scenarios are timid next to the real thing: the power one person has over another -- the puppy love, say, that turns rabid as two souls merge in...

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