From Fatal Pictures, written and directed by Richard Powell, starring: Bill Oberst Jr., Robert Nolan and Mateo D’Avino. When a father, Gordon, connects with a stranger who has similar interests online, he embarks on an ill-fated road trip with his son to indulge a secret passion.
The actors here do well to perform in such a way where you automatically know how you should feel about these characters, particularly Oberst Jr.’s Denis, every little movement and inflections of his voice, direct the audience to exactly the reaction you should have from this character. The same goes for Nolan as Gordon, which is particularly useful to give context to the story without having to actually make it too obvious with over the top dialogue or actions. Nolan particularly does well in emanating a sense of almost pity for his character, while at the same time making you unsure whether or not you trust him.
The film opens strongly and immediately grabs your attention, using its dark setting and ominous tone to peak your curiosity as to the millions of possibilities of what could be happening. Leaving so much for the audience to try and decipher for the first half of the film is definitely one way in which it succeeds, it creates an air of mystery and danger while impressively not physically having to do too much. You can also instantly feel the tension, as an audience you may not know what will happen but you know it’s not good, keeping you gripped to the screen. As the film develops it begins to evoke the classic reaction of “What the hell?”, stepping into territory which feels akin to that of classic B-movies while avoiding going into the realm of ridiculous, holding onto that curiosity and mystery. In the same sense, it also harbours an intention to make the audience uncomfortable, which is particularly effective when considering the underlying tones and themes of abuse and predators. The film does have a slight issue when beginning to reveal its plot, it comes across as one rather large leap rather than a gradual introduction which does temporarily jolt the enjoyment of the film.
Overall the film creates something interesting, it’s almost a hybrid of a dark mystery and a monster B-movie which is not an unlikely pairing and does work successfully. There’s also some wonderful production value on effects which add a great deal to the experience. In some respects it’s almost difficult to describe but it’s certainly worth watching.