“24 Exposures”: Horror Goes Mumblecore

24 Exposures How fun, after the production-budget quantum leap of Drinking Buddies, to find one-man indie-movie factory Joe Swanberg back in cheapo DIY mode. What's inspiring about this prolific shoestring operator is the fact that he'll probably have finished one feature and started another by the time you're done reading this. With 24 Exposures, Swanberg once again opens himself up to accusatory critique as regards the quantity-quality tradeoff, or for that matter the unchecked male gaze. But the movie — starring Swanberg's fellow indie kids and V/H/S alumni Adam Wingard, Simon Barrett, and Helen Rogers as, respectively, a fetish photographer with a (rationalized) wandering eye, a lonely and depressed detective, and a young woman who, in her special way, brings these lads together — is at least as intelligently self-investigating as it is wanton. Maybe only Swanberg could so lovingly nod to Skinemax-style cheesy erotic exploitation thrillers while also channeling Abbas Kiarostami's poker-faced peeks through the fourth wall. He's good at maximizing scant resources, and letting necessarily simple setups complicate themselves. Here, as the movie coasts on the mileage it gets from cross-cutting between a “real” crime scene and a staged violent fetish scene, harsh lighting and pushy interstitial music punctuate the low-key creepiness, and supporting players Caroline White and Sophia Takal slyly steal the show.

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