Tuesday, January 12, 2010
Director: George Bessudo
Writers: Daniel P. Coughlin and Jason Hice
Starring Jamie Anne Allman, William Lee Scott, Kelly Hu, Steven Weber, Sam Sarpong and Jack Donner
This was film that sounded very intriguing after the write up I read in an issue of Fangoria and I have to say it really impressed me. It is a film that at first seems like a film in the Hostel or Saw manner, but as the story unfolds it becomes more and more apparent that the film is not what the viewer is expecting it to be. It has a killer twist ending that M. Night Shamayalan only wishes he could pull off. The film reveals more and more with the constant use of flashbacks as it reveals how the 2 lead character have ended up upon this road and the closer you get to the climax the more you see that the leads are not the innocent souls that they appear to be. The film is tremendously well done, with a great script, solid production values, a great cast and some truly effective torture scenes. Kelly Hu and Steven Weber really inhabit their roles and really make the film that much more enjoyable as you watch their descent into cruelty and depravity. The film transcends from a psychological thriller into a truly disturbing supernatural horror film by it's ending and the viewer never feels like they are treated unfairly by watching this progression.
The plot basics are this, Scarlett (Allman) and Chad (Scott) are traveling cross country to start a new life after they have had tragedy befall them with the death of their newborn child, and money woes due to Chad's problems with gambling. They are traveling when Chad falls asleep at the wheel and totals their car and they seek refuge and help at a nearby farmhouse which is owned and run by what seems to be a very friendly and loving couple, Sameul (Weber) and Lilith (Hu). They are coaxed into staying the night, and as they are settled in they begin to see strange things and it soon becomes apparent that Sameul and Lilith are not the good samaritans they appear to be. They begin to sadistically torture Chad and Scarlett and through flashbacks it seems that Scarlett and Chad are not the innocent souls they appear to be. It all leads to a shocking climax that will have to be seen to be believed.
This was a tremendously well done horror film. The direction by Bessudo is taut and fearful. The way he juxtaposes the flashbacks with what is happening in the present is masterful. I love how with each flashback it reveals more of the truth between the 2 lead characters. The torture scenes are filmed with macabre relish too. The script is very intelligent and requires the viewer to have a sharp mind to get all the nuances that it applies. This is a smart horror film with interesting and fully realized characters. I was really surprised by it's twist ending and in a good way. This was a film I could not stop thinking about for awhile. The cast does an excellent job too. Allman is superb as Scarlett, at first you truly sympathize with her, but as the story is truly revealed you see what a truly monstrous side she does have hidden underneath her charms. Scott as Chad is great too, as the husband who will do anything for his woman and you really believe that. Weber and Hu are magnetic as the likeable but malevolent farmhouse couple. Hu really shines during a scene with a cheese grater. While Weber overacts with relish when he is pursuing Scarlett on the farmhouse grounds. The SFX and effects are hard to stomach but still a marvel to see. I especially liked the cheese grater scene and the eye gouging scenes in particular. If you enjoy horror films that can surprise you seek this one out, it has one of the best endings I have seen since the Mist.
This one gets 5 out of 5