When Seth (Adam Weppler) receives a mysterious letter inviting him to spend the weekend at a secluded mansion in the country, he soon realizes the people inside the house may know him better than he knows himself. Written and directed by Erik Bloomquist, also starring: Catherine Corcoran, Nicholas Tucci and Fran Kranz.
Being stuck in a mansion in the middle of nowhere with quite possibly the most obnoxious man you’ve ever met, who has a ridiculous amount of money, is a hell of a start for a film and surprising that it isn’t the plot to a horror movie. It may not inherently be a horror film but it walks closely to that line, while keeping to its thriller intentions. A particularly interesting example of that genre blend is the choice to include a scene of the leads, Weppler and Tucci, playing a game of chubby bunny (for those not familiar, the game involves putting more and more marshmallows in your mouth, until you’re unable to clearly say the name of the game), a risky move and yet, it holds an intriguing amount of intensity. Granted it was a strange choice but it pays off and is a perfect instance of the unusual line the film walks, it keeps you on your toes because after that, literally anything could happen.
Now, if you’re one of those people who constantly tries to figure out where mysteries are going, try to turn that off, going into this knowing very little and letting yourself simply sit back and enjoy, is going to be a much more pleasurable viewing experience. There’s a raging amount of aggression and oddities, that’s captivating to watch, it probably ought to be frustrating or irritating but it holds onto you, wanting to know where it’s headed and how more odd it can possibly get. There’s almost a hint of M. Night Shyamalan’s underrated The Visit but it’s unfortunate that despite the strength of its more passive aggressive, intense moments, attempts at more genuine emotion or sentimentality fall a little bit short.
The setting of a remote mansion is always an aesthetically pleasing choice but there’s also an air of the claustrophobic to it, keeping so close and only having minimal characters means that despite the wide open spaces, the intense interactions have little space to breathe and keeps that captivating spirit alive. As it moves along, it goes far enough to be considered slightly twisted but it resists from going too far at any point, there’s nothing too cringeworthy or gory, it toes the line very well.
An appearance from Fran Kranz is the cherry on top, despite his brilliant turn in The Cabin in the Woods almost 10 years ago, his appearances have been fairly quiet, he’s got plenty of credits but never broken out. Perhaps with the exceptions of Mojave and The Dark Tower but we all know how those releases went, that’s if you’ve come across them at all. However, it’s clear that his career in indie film has continued strongly, with Long Lost being a prime example, he may only appear for a few minutes but he makes an immediate impression and the role calls for a particular charisma that he portrays very well. That’s not to say the rest of the cast don’t stand out, Weppler is extremely relatable as Seth, Corcoran as Abby holds a bit of mystery within a lot of straightforward and frank attitude and Tucci as Richard is a perfectly called for amount of arrogant and abrasive.
Overall, putting aside attempts to figure out where the story is going, letting things just unfold before you, it’s an entertaining and slightly twisted 94-minutes. There are plenty of tricks and turns up its sleeve to keep you glued to the screen and there have been many a blockbuster that tries to be mysterious and falls short, so any film that manages to keep you guessing, no matter the budget, is one that’s really worth watching.