Blu-ray Review
by Kevin Carr

    MOVIE: ** (out of 5 stars)
    BLURAY EXPERIENCE: *** (out of 5 stars)

    Anna Kendrick as SARAH
    Paul Wesley as BILLY
    Tania Raymonde as JILLIAN
    Chuck Carter as JASPER
    Olivia Dawn York as DARLA TOD
    Jeffrey Daniel Phillips as OFFICER BERTG

    Rated R
    Studio: E1 Entertainment

    Directed by: Nathan Hope

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In a small Indiana town, two girls stumble into a string of crimes. Jillian (Tania Raymonde) is a wild child who wants to find some excitement. She starts to meet men online for kicks, and after she reveals this extracurricular activity to her friend Sarah (Anna Kendrick), Jillian goes missing herself. Sarah uses Jillian’s found cell phone to try and track her down, answering what appears to be text messages from Jillian.

There’s a certain creepiness this film has that makes it work to a degree. The imagery is decent, especially in the mysterious messages from Jillian that appear as phone videos. I’ve seen a lot of this imagery before, especially in some of the 2009 theatrical releases like “The Unborn,” “The Uninvited” and a slew of other films that have come before it.

Anna Kendrick does a good job carrying the film, considering she’s a relative newcomer and has the harder role. Tania Raymonde takes a more sultry turn than her character in “Lost” that most of us know her for. She’s got the easier job by being the troubled wild child where Kendrick must carry a less interesting but more important role as the good friend trying to help.

It’s not a great film, but it can be decent to watch in a pinch. It’s not really a horror film (although the filmmakers might beg to differ, if their comments in the special features are any indication), but it works to a degree as a suspense movie.

In the special features, the filmmakers seem to take pride in the fact that this film lacks violence and any real bloody scenes. I commend them to a certain degree to shy away from the torture porn that has polluted cinemas lately, but when you have a serial killer story, by avoiding this subject matter completely, you tend to soften the film.

There’s a deliberate murkiness to the look of the film and the function of the story, giving it a real “S. Darko” sort of feel to it. In other words, the filmmakers really go out of their way to mask the fact that they are telling a very basic story we’ve seen many times before. And with the lack of any real supernatural element, the movie suffers from the expectations set up from its own cover box.

There’s a nice assortment of special features, although they’re not necessarily made for the Blu-ray format. Director Nathan Hope and producer Vincent Palomino provide a commentary track, and there’s a slate of deleted scenes and a photo gallery available. “The Road to Elsewhere” is an added featurette that goes behind the scenes of the film, which reveals the filmmakers’ intentions, for better or for worse.

Anyone looking for a low budget but decent thriller at the video store.

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