"Apeirophobia" - Kyle Loewy by H.P. Mendoza

Apeirophobia, simply put, is an irrational fear of infinity or eternity.  People with this phobia attempt to live predictable lives.

While reading the reviews some bloggers have mentioned how Sylvia is a symbolism for how religion fools the needy. To me, Sylvia is a symbolism of all that’s wrong with the world.  Sylvia is an allegory for how politics, religion, and the media drive our emotions, oftentimes to the point of sheer hatred and havoc among the people.  Sylvia is our therapist or doctor who may or may not be looking out for our best interest.  Sylvia is a monster in a mother’s voice.  She is the person who becomes your friend and then leaves you when you need her the most.

I will admit that I am a non-believer.  Most Christians would call me Agnostic because that makes them feel better, but whatever.  Honestly, I don’t care to take on the mantle of any group.  I am me and I do everything I can to love others without religion.  As the Dalai Lama once said, “My religion is simple.  My religion is kindness.”  I do hope for some light at the end of the tunnel, it would be nice, but I’m not holding my breath.  I have always had a fear of endless darkness.  I think my fear is both religiously based and based on how violent human beings can be.  I hate violence and I fear the unpredictable.  It turns my stomach in knots to think about it.  We are all capable of the most severe brutality and it terrifies me to no end that, on a whim, someone can commit a violent atrocity.  Hearing that someone died or that someone bombed a marathon frightens the hell out of me.  I went to see the films, DeadpoolThe Boy, and Suicide Squad, with my spouse, and I kept thinking, during those films, what if some lone gunman waltzes in and mows us down.

I kept running through these thoughts in my head.  First, I’d grab my spouse, then I’d push him down screaming, and maybe I’d take a bullet that my spouse would most likely have received.  None of that happened, though, but in my mind, it was a fear all too real.  I wish the world could be more predictable and less terrifying.

(See Kyle Loewy's entire review, HERE.)

"The ghost in question is CINEMA." - Kenneth Gould by H.P. Mendoza

Notice that the film looks really old. And when we go even deeper into her subconscious, the film gets grainier and scratched. And whenever we get a chance to see the present outcome of things, the film gets cut, jarringly. Also, the sound is very old, too. And it isn't until she closes off with the psychic that the music and sound becomes modern. It's almost like the movie is saying that horror cinema needs to be revived like a Leo Carrax film. The ghost in question is cinema itself, each movie an emotional imprint in time.

"All these religious posts are wrong. And right." - Wilbert by H.P. Mendoza

All these religious posts are wrong. And right.

Emily goes about her existence frying eggs, waking up, using the bathroom, going to sleep all to do it all over again. With one pain, and one question. "Everyone left me. WHY?"

Emily is the symbol for mankind, self-aware creatures of routine with unanswered questions that threaten their very existence. Sylvia is the charlatan (think Ricky Gervais in THE INVENTION OF LYING) who, when hired by an authoritative group (the living family), must quell the unease of the spirit by telling them to walk into the light.

As the story progresses, we have glimpses, flashes and hints to what the movie is leading up to. And if you're quick, you'll solve the whole movie in the first 30 minutes. (I was not.) Emily asks Sylvia, "A light? It's as it's been written?" This is a reference to mentions of transcendence in the Bible and her doubt in the existence of a heaven or hell. After Sylvia calms her down halfway through the film, Emily tells Sylvia that she has a gift, the first sign of caving into the idea of a God. Later, when the demon tells her that her God is dead, it is followed by a scene where Emily opens a door to nothing. Not blackness, not darkness, but nothing. The idea of NOTHING after death scares Emily so badly that she retreats back into the purgatory she's been living in.


When the house begins to fall apart and get engulfed in the ooze (POLTERGEIST, anyone?) Emily has no choice but to rely on Sylvia for help, but Sylvia has turned her back on her. Like a clergyperson who is in actuality a political pawn, Sylvia has succeeded in getting rid of Emily by any means necessary and has done her job according to the family. Emily has been split into two, now, the male part and the female part and they both sob, knowing that "the light" has been a lie. "Sylvia, there is no light! Everything is getting dark!"

In the end, the psychic was hired by the family to get rid of the souls that lived in that house, and she did so with deceit. I think the film, especially the dream sequences and the ending, are a statement on the deceitful nature of organized religion in general.

"Emily is an American poet." - Ava by H.P. Mendoza

EMILY is Emily Dickinson and SYLVIA is Sylvia Plath, both from Massachusetts (Amherst and Boston, respectively) and born 100 years apart. SYLVIA the psychic won't reveal how much time has passed since EMILY died, but she does reveal to her the fact that her own mother wanted to leave her in the woods and that she doesn't know how to do anything else but talk to the dead which echoes a sentiment that resembles the emotional atmosphere of Sylvia Plath's BELL JAR.

The movie even opens with the Emily Dickinson poem "Haunted".

Looking at Mendoza's earlier work, in COLMA: THE MUSICAL, Rodel buries his poems around the house while Maribel calls him "Emily Dickinson". And in YES WE'RE OPEN, the lead character is called "Sylvia" and she went to Smith. Sylvia Plath went to Smith College. Interestingly, Sylvia Plath committed suicide when she was 30.

I think Mendoza just wanted Emily Dickinson and Sylvia Plath to meet.

"Emily was transgender." - Pauline by H.P. Mendoza

When you look at how Emily lived her life she was obviously transgender. The grey man was trapped in a woman's body his whole life and resented Emily for it. The psychic is a symbol for gender reassignment and the electroshock therapy doctor is a symbol for transphobia and the damaging effects it has on a trans person. When you see Emily's dolls, you see that one has a penis. She also has pictures of gay men in her nightstand. When the grey man finally gets to say his peace, he says "I had to live in your body my entire life answering to your stupid name.'

When she blacks out and we finally see what happens in the mirror, she's getting possessed (you see her getting possessed in the second repetition of scenes when it gives you the closeups and extra seconds) and she's the gray man now. When the gray man looks in the mirror, he does not accept what he sees and bashes his own head into the mirror. We see his reflection shortly before it cuts to Emily's female form bleeding from the forehead in the reflection of the broken mirror.

The broken mirror represents her broken psyche and her shattered identity forced to restrain (or "keep at bay" the man inside. And when Emily says "I lived with a man inside me" Sylvia says "we need to find him". Emily responds with "I wouldn't know how to begin" which is because of the blind eye she's turned to the gray man her whole life. (In the movie, she refers to it as blacking out and "waking up doing horrible things".)

"'Your God is dead' means everyone's god." - David Khoury by H.P. Mendoza

When the gray man says "Your God is dead" it's just spelling out what the whole movie is about. THE MOVIE IS ABOUT LIGHT. The invention of the light bulb started to infiltrate society in ways that eradicated a lot of myths about where light comes from. Every shot of the movie has a hint at that: an old Victorian reading room with unlit candles but light bulbs instead. Her bedroom has a zoetrope on the dresser but a light bulb in the lamp. And then, when she gets her electro shock therapy, we never see the doctor OR Emily, we only see a light bulb. Then the doctor says "People are afraid of what they don't understand. Electricity is our friend. It's just light." And that's the moment Emily becomes crazy. Then she spends the rest of the movie looking for light but never finds it. Why? Because the light is supposed to be God, according to Sylvia. But as the gray man says in the mirror "Your God is dead". When he says that, he means EVERYONE'S god. All religion is being explained away by science and if you hang on to this outdated notion of light, you'll be left in something blacker than black, darker than dark - and that's "nothing".

"The shock therapy created the demon." - Tiffany Wong by H.P. Mendoza

When we hear the English doctor talking to young Emily, he says that electricity is just light and nothing to be afraid of. Ironically, it's the last light Emily ever sees because she has a world of darkness ahead of her, all the way up to her second end (the exorcism).

She was just a naughty child who played with sexual dolls and looked at pictures of sailors that she keeps under her nightclothes (that scene is so weird). In the 19th century, parents would send their children to electroshock therapy to get rid of unwanted sexual desires. When Emily saw "the light", the shock therapy created the demon that lived inside her from that point on.

"Sylvia is a fraud." - Anonymous by H.P. Mendoza

Sylvia is based on Sylvia Browne the fraud psychic who claimed to be able to talk to dead people on behalf of their loved ones.


Sylvia promises that there is a light at the end of the tunnel like it says in the bible but when Emily confronts the demon, there is no light. Sylvia is a fraud.

"When Eve became aware of her existence from the Tree of Knowledge, she was aware of her own nature." - Matt Cannon by H.P. Mendoza

When Emily becomes aware of her exists as a ghost by a invisible presence know to her as a psychic hired from the family that previously lives in Emily's home to rid her of her spirit and send it to the next world, or plane of existence. With this realization comes the ultimate price to become conscience means to understand that she is truly alone and isolated in her own home. Not to say this constitutes as play on the garden of Eden, but when Eve became aware of her existence from the tree of knowledge, she was aware of her own nature, her self, as Emily soon realizes with knowledge comes a great epiphany of reality when she finds out from her invisible psychic friend that she might not be the only spirit trapped in the house.

"Emily and the Gray Man were in fact two different individuals." - David Whiting by H.P. Mendoza

My main conclusion was that Emily and the Gray Man were in fact two different individuals and though Emily may have stabbed herself to death in an episode of her illness, the Gray Man was about to attack her and that may have triggered the episode. That's why we see the Gray Man with his own eyes as opposed to black voids. Unclear as to the identity of the Gray Man, however I felt he was not a part of Emily's illness created blackouts. I also feel Sylvia was in over her head. At the end, she abandoned Emily in her own fright over the revelation of the Gray Man. In the final scene, it's Emily who must confront everything. Her illness, her death, the Gray Man, the encroaching darkness (not "The Light", as promised).

"The eggs are twins." - Anonymous by H.P. Mendoza

The scenes that are repeated in the movie are repeated for a reason, and one of the scenes that repeats the most is the egg frying scene. The eggs represent the two halves of the person that lived - the girl and the boy, twins but one died at birth and haunted the other for the rest of her life.

"Emily is a lesbian." - Vicky by H.P. Mendoza

Emily killed herself because she couldn't deal with her masculine side because she is a closeted lesbian. When her masculine side actually speaks, he talks about how he wanted to kill her his whole life. It's because of the stigma associated with being gay. Even her parents sent her to shock treatment to fry the gay away. As we all know, those ex-gay camps never work and she came back damaged beyond belief, but brainwashed into keeping the man at bay. When the man is released, he comes out with a vengeance.

"Emily never sees the light because she's been in hell." - Anonymous by H.P. Mendoza

At the end when she says "There is no light!" it's because suicide is a deadly sin, worse than murder. When she killed herself, she didn't just die, but she went to hell, forced to repeat her struggle over and over. When the movie is over, Sylvia is trying to move her into the light, but Emily moves into blackness. You can start the movie over again and realize that she has been in hell the whole time.