Very green and very gothic Before I Fall.
Very green and very gothic: Before I Fall. Open Road Films

Just before something bad happens early in Before I Fall, a young woman driving an SUV yells, "The Pacific Northwest rain!" Yes, it's raining, but not heavily. It's that monotonous rain of our region. It's not the kind of rain that Annie Lennox describes in that popular tune—the rain that comes down again and falls on your head like a new emotion. The PNW rain always has the same mood, a mood that lingers even when it is not raining.

Before I Fall is an all around well-made film that concerns a conventionally beautiful teenager who is trying to get out of the maze of the last day of her life. One of the movie's many excellent scenes has two teens running through the twilight of a green-dark forest. This is, indeed, green gothic at its best.

Seattle-based visual artist Matthew Offenbacher was the first to theorize this kind of gothic aesthetic. He described it as a feeling, a mood (stimmung in the German expressionist sense) that captures the region’s monstrous aspect. The dusky quality of its sharply slanted light, its dusk-green trees, its urban wilderness blending with the wilderness of the woods. All of this is in Before I Fall, which was filmed in and around Vancouver B.C., the capital—the Transylvania—of green gothic.

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