Poison - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Poison Reviews

Page 1 of 5
hunterjt13
Super Reviewer
June 15, 2012
Three stories about a prison romance, a boy who flies away after killing his father, and a scientist who becomes a leprous sex monster are entwined.
I think I could find a way to link these three stories to sexuality, specifically gay sexuality, just as several other reviewers have done, but the acting and writing were so deplorable that it made it difficult to follow the film. I understand that "Horror," the B-movie storyline, was supposed to have bad acting, but there is no such excuse for the other two stories. The performances were so stilted and self-conscious, and it seemed like first-time director Todd Haynes didn't shoot enough takes.
Overall, I think there might be something interesting underneath the crappy acting, but I couldn't bring myself to see it clearly.
Super Reviewer
½ January 23, 2011
The small budget for this film did not hold back Todd Haynes' big ideas. This is a disquieting, challenging movie that presents us wiith heavy subject matter without offering immediate or obvious explanations. The structure, tone and concept are extremely polished. A great debut.
Super Reviewer
½ May 7, 2013
Less a cohesive motion picture than it is a collection of ugly, awkward, poorly-realized scenarios, "Poison" is the visually repulsive and, at times, incomparably bland debut from director Todd Haynes (who would eventually go on to make bigger and much better things) that was a source of extreme controversy during its time. Not only does it not deserve to be talked about or brought up in conversation, but it isn't worth a second of anyone's time. It's unremarkable, self-important, degenerative trash.
divinetrash
Super Reviewer
½ January 2, 2008
It has been made perfectly clear that Todd Haynes will never disappoint me and this film is the proof of that. His fascinating storytelling creativity flows beautifully in these tales of haunted and human characters.
December 29, 2015
An interesting movie from Todd Haynes with beautiful cinematography and great performances all around.
October 16, 2015
Poison is an elegantly produced, slightly disjointed assessment of gay life and its relationship with society at large, utilizing three different genres that appeal to gay audiences (campy sci-fi/horror, documentary, romantic drama) in order to convey messages about the AIDS crisis, the feeling of being poisoned by ones sexuality, the difficulty of expressing love in a world that hates you, and the assertion of gay love as natural. Although its themes are occasionally expressed heavy-handedly, its existence was absolutely revolutionary in a time when LGBT people were dying left and right only to be met with contempt by their own government, and though Haynes would go on to direct greater works dealing with these ideas, his first feature remains a vital piece of gay history and a testament to the power of independent filmmaking.
½ January 8, 2012
wow. really cool movie. i'm not the biggest fan of todd haynes (i can't stand velvet goldmine) but i liked this a lot.
½ July 1, 2011
Difficult and flawed, but ultimately rewarding. Todd Haynes' disturbing 1991 debut intermingles three short stories, all told in wildly different cinematic styles (mock-documentary, '50s B-movie, and prison melodrama). Two out of three of them are quite good.
½ July 8, 2008
Todd Haynes' Poison is a conceptually bold, self-conscious, stylistically audacious first feature, a compelling study of different forms of deviance.
½ February 6, 2011
it's definitely interesting ill give it that, tho not all the stories are equal, the one with the doctor is the best, the one about the kid 2nd, and the one in jail the worst, mainly cuz i couldnt understand half of it cuz they seemed to be mumbling half the time, still theres enough good to worth checking out
½ August 13, 2010
Todd Haynes' Safe is one of my favorite films, a very strange and enigmatic movie. If anything, this one is even more enigmatic. Inspired by the works of Jean Genet, it interweaves three stories, told in different cinematic styles. "Homo" is the most blatantly referential to Genet, a story about a gay relationship in prison. It also seems to be influenced by Anger and Fassbinder. "Horror" is a throwback to B-movie William Castle style chillers, about a scientist who accidentally imbibes a flask of "sex drive hormone". "Hero" is a documentary style tale of a young boy who murders his father. The separate parts comment on sexuality, violence, deviance and AIDS. But I'd have to say that, on first glance at least, it works better as a concept than as an actual film. "Homo" is most effective and well-defined. "Horror" has some amateurish aspects, which suits the style but makes it seem more like an afterthought, and kind of thin as an AIDS allegory. "Hero" is the most uneven. The acting is very poor, which doesn't help at all. It's hard to see how it fits in with the others. Some connections can be made, but they're unclear. However, it does end on a very unusual note that leaves a lot to the imagination. A thought-provoking work, even if it doesn't quite come together.
April 5, 2009
LOVE this film and is responsible for my deeper appreciation of independent films. Three stories shot in various styles with a single, common thread. If you haven't seen this film, you must.
May 22, 2008
Three stories each in different genre's connected by the writings of Jean Genet, which abstractly connect in theme are weaved together, one is mockumentary about a boy who shot his father and then flew out of the window, the other is a black and white Roger Cormanesque science fiction horror film about a mad scientist who distills the sex drive and becomes an infectious leperous monster, while the other is about an obsessive abusive sexual relationship between two prison inmantes. The latter plot almost got the film banned after the complaints of religious groups, because it shows an erect penis. If you likewise are afraid or made uncomfortable by explicit sexuality you will be ruffled by this. If not you may find this fascinating, challenging, and provacotive.

Years before "I'm Not There", director Todd Haynes was working in experimental narrative, his first film a biography of Karen Carpenter using only Barbie Dolls, and then this, and this is a quantumn leap forward. A one of a kind film, about the awesome, bizzare, and divergent power of human sexuality. Wierd cameo from John Leguizamo too.
October 3, 2008
Poison would be better if they had cut out the black & white story altogether & just focused on the other two. I was not getting the B&W story...
September 1, 2008
At some points I found it...I don't know...amateurish? Trying a little too too hard? But those points were few and far between and what really comes through more than anything else is Haynes' honesty, love and devotion to his work.
Intense and beautiful, disturbing and visceral.
The birth of a strange gay film maker.
June 30, 2008
Three stories each in different genre's connected by the writings of Jean Genet, which abstractly connect in theme are weaved together, one is mockumentary about a boy who shot his father and then flew out of the window, the other is a black and whit...(read more)e Roger Cormanesque science fiction horror film about a mad scientist who distills the sex drive and becomes an infectious leperous monster, while the other is about an obsessive abusive sexual relationship between two prison inmantes. The latter plot almost got the film banned after the complaints of religious groups, because it shows an erect penis. If you likewise are afraid or made uncomfortable by explicit sexuality you will be ruffled by this. If not you may find this fascinating, challenging, and provacotive. Years before "I'm Not There", director Todd Haynes was working in experimental narrative, his first film a biography of Karen Carpenter using only Barbie Dolls, and then this, and this is a quantumn leap forward. A one of a kind film, about the awesome and divergent power of human sexuality.
March 16, 2008
1‚??winner of 1991‚??s Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize
2‚??first collaboration with producer Christine Vachon, who created Killer Films in time for Velvet Golmine and Todd Solondz‚??s Happiness (1998)‚??with Good Machine‚??s Ted Hope
3‚??1 of the three stories, ‚??Homo‚?? makes an explicit link to Jean Genet‚??s Thief Journal: fictional reminiscences of days in reform school and prisons
4‚??What is (American Independent) Cinema? state-funded gay sex
March 7, 2008
Interesting first effort for Haynes. You can see the roots of disjointed chronology with poetic narrative that flourishes his later work.
November 25, 2007
There's no doubt that Todd Haynes is a talented director. This debut full-length shows signs of that. I would recommend it to anyone who wishes to understand his next three films more. However, the film feels forced and incoherent and it lacks any emotional power that Far From Heaven has or the fun of Velvet Goldmine, or the coherence of Safe.
Page 1 of 5