Saturday, February 19, 2005

Review INEXCHANGE by Ron Ford

INEXCHANGE - Written and directed by Zack Parker. Starring Sean Blodgett, Tiffany Wilson and Todd Richard Lewis.

There is a lot to recommend about this serious and atmospheric horror movie. It is lit professionally, the sound is good, and, amazingly, every performance is as good as those seen in bigger budgeted union pictures. That is saying a lot for a micro budget movie shot on video. Zack Parker is obviously a very serious film maker, and somebody I will be watching.

The story is slim on plot, but rich in subtext and characterization. College freshman Maury (Todd Blodgett) is introverted to the point of being nearly a shut-in. He rarely leaves his dorm room, except for class, and when he is forced to wander the campus at night because his dorm room mate has a girl over. When an attractive girl starts paying attention to him, Maury begins to open up. But when he learns she is just being nice because she feels sorry for him, all hell breaks loose. Add to this a mysterious specter who may or may not exist outside of Maury's head, urging him deeper and deeper into his private inner darkness. The specter is never named, but he is unique-looking. A man, blindfolded (and yet he has no trouble seeing) and dressed in a fur-trimmed, floor-length pimp coat.

This movie tries to emulate the atmosphere of a European horror film. The pace is slow, snail slow, but intentionally so, as it takes its time building characters and atmosphere before turning on the horror. And when it finally does so, the filmmakers do not wallow in the gore. What blood scenes there are are handled with style and taste, milking plenty of raw power out of them.

The major problem, however, is that the payoff of the movie is stale and predictable, story-wise (though visually well-handled). This is a big problem, after having invested so much patience into it by this point. However, that I made it that far without being bored is a worthy feat in itself. The characters are all interesting and well-played, and hold our attention throughout. None of them is a two dimensional cookie-cutter character.

It's nice to see a micro budget film maker who takes the time and care to plan and execute his shoots so well. This is one of the slickest micro-budget movies I have ever seen, and one of the most promising young directors to come out of that arena in a long time.

INEXCHANGE will be released later this summer from Brain Damage Films, and is definitely worth looking for.

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