When the disturbed teen Matthew (Treadaway) comes home from hospital to live with his father (Wise), the tension is sharp enough to cut with a knife. And neither wants to talk to their care worker (Jennings). Both are still stunned by the disappearance of younger brother Tom (Palmer), who Matthew starts to see and hear around the grim London estate where they live. His best pal (Felton) thinks he's nuts, but a shy neighbour (Leeming) offers an understanding ear.
And as more strange things happen, Matthew starts to lose focus on reality.
Director-cowriter Kevorkian has a great eye for unsettling imagery, using shadowy cinematography to capture the luridly decorated settings, plus a deeply jarring sound mix that keeps us off balance. The whole film feels like a nightmare, as we are pulled into Matthew's tortured mind. And Treadaway manages to subtly add texture to the character, even when the script seems to skim over the surface.
The problem is that nothing much seems to be happening until the plot groans into gear at the end. This is a thriller that moves at a snail's pace, focussing on psychological torment while hinting that something surreal or supernatural is at work. There are some great jolting moments here and there, and a terrifically emotional undercurrent, but the dialog and plotting are so simplistic and wilfully vague that in the end the film feels like an experiment in atmosphere rather than an actual thriller.
The scriptwriters also indulge in some rather hackneyed turns as the events unfold and we finally begin to learn what's going on (it's not a big surprise).
The film as a whole has a tone that's as dry and cold as the people around Matthew, even as the undercurrent of raw tragedy constantly gurgles just out of sight. But it's worth seeing for Treadaway's emotive performance. And the skilful use of imagery and sound mark Kevorkian as a filmmaker to watch.
Run time: 96 mins
In Theaters: Sunday 12th October 2008
Distributed by: Jinga Films
Production compaines: Skibofilms Productions
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 64%
Fresh: 9 Rotten: 5
IMDB: 6.0 / 10
Director: Johnny Kevorkian
Producer: Johnny Kevorkian, Neil Murphy
Screenwriter: Johnny Kevorkian, Neil Murphy
Starring: North Roberts as Jeff, Harold Dennis as Robert, Iris Kohl as Angie, Bruce Spielbauer as Malakh, Jordyn Paige Bolber as Gabriella, Amanda Eastman as Hanged Victim, DC McAuliffe as Watcher, Steve Yahnke as Demon
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