Friday, October 31, 2014
AMONG FRIENDS (2012)
Directed By: Danielle Harris
Written By: Alyssa Lobit
Cinematography By: John Orphan
Editor: Vance Crofoot
Cast: Alyssa Lobit, Jennifer Blanc, Kamala Jones, AJ Bowen, Kane Hodder, Dana Daurey, Brianne Davis, Danielle Harris, Kimberly McCullough
AMONG FRIENDS is a twisted horror about a dinner party gone wrong. Set against an 80s backdrop, good times take a dark turn when one in the group hijacks the evening in the name of Integrity. Through an attempt to help the others come clean about secret betrayals against one another, it's revealed who's willing to cut through the bone to expose the truth. This feature directorial debut of Scream Queen Danielle Harris
I remember a time when horror weren't always about kills, but had some commentary in them. They could be subtle and still feel about something of course some are just about entertainment and taking pleasure is seeing violence. Some are all about suspense and some try to make the horrific things you are watching so ridiculous you can't take anything you see seriously.
When it comes to this film while there is ultimately a good premise and plenty of ideas that could have been explored and expanded upon to make a truly different and noteworthy film. Instead the film plays like a bunch of missed opportunities that wants to be horrific, but also a comedy too and it never succeeds at either.
The main villain of the film you can never take seriously and while her motives are understandable, she quickly abandons them and makes her plan not seem legitimate more just a reason for a psycho to have reasoning being her mayhem. Plus the role is played ago over the top seeming to try to be a horror icon bit never achieves that stature.
One of the problems is that even before we learn he secrets of the characters they aren't very likable and once we do the film seeks to make it justifiable now that we know how despicable the characters are it is ok for the violence against them and while it might seem that way for one of them it's hard to sympathize for many of them as we have been presented their dark secrets and it's not like our opinion of them. Even changes other then not to like them more. I also still never found the torture inflicted on them entertaining nor believable as they are maimed continuously hey scream when lt happens but after it seems no more lasting then a simple cut instead of a deep wound or lost appendage.
Which is what takes us out of the situation and makes us in the audience wonder how are we supposed to take what we are being presented with.
The film comes off as an accomplished first dress rehearsal more than a film. As it keeps shifting tones and never really decides to stick with one or declare itself one.
Part of the Magic of films especially horror is not necessarily setting up a franchise as that is presumptuous by rather let the Character and film find an audience who desires a sequel or return. This film the villain of the piece is plate by the screenwriter who obviously is using this to further her acting career but also create an indelible franchise stacker. Now I say more power to her though it takes away what could be unique about the film. It also doesn't help when you give your character all the good lines and a good motivation. As once all is revealed you feel nothing for the Characters. High that is another problem you can't ask the audience to feel surprised or give sympathy when the film maintains and keeps a cynical atmosphere exactly when are we supposed to feel something of everything we expect happens.
Also the supposed action sequences and tortures look and feel fake And badly directed so there is no real suspense.
The only thing on the film that truly seems inspired is a hallucinatory dream sequence that makes the whole thing seem like a movie. It's out of place makes no sense but at least is Inventive.
The actors mostly play their roles well and are recognizable to movie fans. Though they deserve a better film to be in.
I was really looking forward to his film the premise seemed promising and the fashion used in the promotional material made it seem like a throwback to 80's type horror/comedy. It wasn't that at all though even an 80's influence would have been welcome.
One of the disappointments of the film is that it is directed by between horror movie actress Danielle Harris who has been in enough of these films to know how to make a proper one at least one that is better then this. At least pick better material as something better could have been made with this script.
I wish I could blame the low budget , but I have seen better be made with less. I really hate to come down hard on indie films as they already heaven uphill battle, but this was majorly disappoinintg. Better luck next time.