I’m going to start about by saying I like just about every actor in this film. I’ve liked Arielle Kebbel since seeing her in Reeker and American Pie: Band Camp. Sarah Carter was just about the only thing I liked in DOA: Dead or Alive. MyAnna Buring from The Descent, Martin Compston (Doomsday), and Andrew Lee Potts (Primeval and Return to House on Haunted Hill) round out a cast of pretty talented folks. In addition, Shrooms, the previous film from director Paddy Breathnach, was in my top 10 list of 2008 films. So I was really looking forward to this film.
A group of medical students, specifically Cat (Kebbel), are being stalked by weird guy Kenneth (Potts). Because they’re mean to him (are people really this mean?), he reveals to them that he’s been recording them on his cell phone camera, and has caught one of them in the act of stealing drugs from the hospital pharmacy. To get the video back, they get the guy drunk and high in a nightclub, right before he goes into an epileptic fit from the club’s strobe lights. Ken goes into a coma, but because of the drugs Cat uses to try and wake him out of it, he’s able to have these out of body experiences, where he can possess people and make them kill the group that put him there in the first place.
It’s a little generic, sadly. I mean, there’s the good girl in the group who isn’t happy with what they do, there’s the guy who says that their life will end if they reveal what they did, there’s a couple of characters who go along with it, and, of course, there’s the one guy who’s kind of on the fence. He’s a nice guy who supports the main girl, but he kinda goes along with the plan too.
I hate to say that I didn’t enjoy this film, but really…it’s rather mediocre. The deaths aren’t entirely imaginative, and they wouldn’t really have to be if the rest of the film felt more imaginative. There are greats actors in this film that just felt entirely wasted. Even the flair that Breathnach brought to Shrooms with his cool camera tricks and the impending sense of dread is all but gone here. It’s sad to say, but it all just seems very DTV. I don’t mind few shooting locations and most of the violence kept off screen, but the script just isn’t strong enough to make up for the mediocre filmmaking.
The acting is strong, which wasn’t a surprise. Potts spends the majority of the film unconscious, and definitely plays off type as a creepy loner guy, rather than the funny character he is in most of his other stuff.
I just really expected more. I’ve read with excitement about the new line of films coming from Generator Entertainment, of which Red Mist (aka Freakdog) was the first. The premise of the line, four week shooting schedules, filming digitally, low budgets, shouldn’t be a crutch, but it kind of felt like one for this film.
The story, similar to Rob Schmidt’s Right to Die (from Showtime’s Masters of Horror), was actually done better by Schmidt.
In the end, I can’t say I disliked the film. It’s competent and well acted. It’s just, in the end, mediocre, which is an awful thing when it comes from exceptional talent.
Paul Awesomeness Score: 5 out of 10