Friday, August 18, 2017
Are We the Waiting tells the story of a group of friends who flee to a family members house in Canada to avoid being drafted for World War three. While there, the friends are locked in the house and terrorized by a ruthless killer named NEO. The group may have dodged World War 3 but they may not survive the night.
As the film begins, we meet the characters who are on the verge of being adults and it's evident they are struggling with growing up and letting go of their carefree youth. We see them playing video games and smoking pot in the middle of the day while the main character, Chance (Rob Pemberton), is thinking of proposing to his girlfriend. But without a job, he thinks twice. This feeling of inadequacy and a lack of direction is further proven by Chance fleeing the country with encouragement from his friends when the draft is reinstated and he gets notified to report for duty. It's a smart set up to show who these characters are and the lives they lead with the draft aspect working as a wonderful Mcguffin that leads us to the true story of the film: a psychotic killer preying on young people
There's a lot of conversation between the characters that takes place while they're sitting down, very still just talking and this approach felt a bit off to me and gave the first half an unnecessary slow feel. If the characters had been in action, working on a car or even simply walking for example, the film could have had a stronger sense of moving forward. It would have felt more lively with more movement.
On the technical front, the film is hindered slightly by some severely uneven sound issues that had me pretty regularly adjusting the volume up or down. There are some cool practical effects that I give the film crew credit for attempting on such a low budget. There's a number of knife killings and one that involves an axe and a head that looked good. All the actors involved did decent work here, with Pemberton and his onscreen girlfriend Kiya (Alyssa Cordial) being the standouts and doing a good job. Fun Time Production shows a lot of heart and effort in Are We the Waiting and it's obvious to me that with a little more style and some technical fine tuning they'll surely produce some great films. Are We the Waiting is a decent flick with a solid sense of story but it lacks a violent punch needed to really put an exclamation point on some of the scenes. That being said, this is a young group of indie horror filmmakers who show a lot of promise and have my attention. I look forward to seeing what they do with their next feature film, Night Howl.
Tuesday, August 8, 2017
Dwelling tells the story of a young woman named Ellie (Erin Marie Hogan) who knowingly moves into a haunted house with her daughter and boyfriend. Consumed by an incident from the past involving her sister River (Devanny Pinn), Ellie accidentally releases an evil spirit that dwells inside a black mirror that works as a doorway to the other side. I love a good haunted house story. There's something very scary about an unpredictable evil spirit or an item that works as a portal to another dimension. Dwelling hits the mark in both atmosphere and story to create an entertaining movie. The film takes it's time setting up the uneasy presence in the house and establishing the relationships between the characters, which creates a bigger payoff at the end. Along the way we are treated to some nightmarish and very creepy imagery. The way the film handles the evil presence that is dwelling in the home is very effective and shown in a way that gives enough to see what it looks like, but leaves enough mystery to let the figure linger in your imagination. Erin Marie Hogan gives a very focused and compelling performance. She embodies perfectly a character not only consumed by a past mystery, but haunted by it. It's become an obsession with her character to a fault, and Hogan's loving yet somewhat chilly portrayal is spot on for the character. The constant sense of Ellie putting herself in danger makes you feel for her and Erin Marie Hogan very like-able in this. While she exudes a reckless sadness, I found myself rooting for her. Mu-Shaka Benson as Gavin is a great compliment to Hogans' Ellie as her boyfriend. He does an excellent job of portraying a man who is both supportive and scared of the situation that is unfolding in his home. Benson gives a strong performance as Gavin portraying the conflict he feels between supporting his girlfriend and questioning her actions and the danger they might be putting the family in. Devanny Pinn makes the most of her screen time and gives a very strong performance as River, Ellie's institutionalized sister with a troubled past. She channels Brittany Murphy in Don't Say a Word and is simply captivating. River wants to get better but can't and Pinn expertly let's the viewer know she is truly haunted and trapped by her horrific past. I'd recommend Dwelling because it doesn't just throw a bunch of nonsensical jump scares at the viewer. The film unfolds slowly and adds layers along the way, telling an effective story. It also creates characters we care about that are given life with strong performances from the cast. Kudos to first time feature film director Kyle Mecca for creating a solid film. Check out Dwelling if you get the chance, it's a creepy good time.