It's the turn of the old year into the new and rather than partying on down, an unnamed woman is busy chasing down a bag full of cash from locker to locker, getting strangled in a remote car park and having her finger cut off. We don't have any idea who she is or why any of this is happening to her but it's obviously important because it backs up the title credits and keeps us watching. Next thing we know actress Mary Steenburgen, playing actress Katie McGovern, is getting hired as the replacement lead in a feature film after the previous lead, Julia Rose, has gone mysteriously missing. Two guesses as to who the victim was. Anyway, the casting agent is the strangely eager to please Roddy McDowall and the producer of the film is the kindly and wheelchair bound Jan Rubes.
It's not too surprising to find that not all is as it seems. McGovern gradually discovers that there is no film and she's become part of some sort of nefarious real life plotline. Her audition tape is part of a blackmail attempt and her identity is being forced from her. There are a lot of odd little touches that don't seem to have anything to do with anything except help to keep us on edge, but everything is there for a reason. That includes the gas station that gives out goldfish like reward points and the player piano that was made for President McKinley but was delivered the day he was shot.
Mary Steenburgen is excellent in a demanding role, well three roles to be honest that must look alike but not be the same. Roddy McDowall is always a joy to watch and he's wonderfully off kilter here. Jan Rubes, who I only know from Witness, gives a powerful performance in a very Hitchcockian way. There are other Hitchcock touches too, including direct yet subtle references to many of Hitch's films through use of corpses or leg casts. My lass thought that this was far too obvious, but she sees through these things far more often than I do. I thought it was perhaps a little workmanlike, but cleverly subtle. I can see why it was a sleeper hit.
Huh? An A-Z of Why Classic American Bad Movies Were Made
(front cover by Eric Schock of Evil Robo Productions)
Velvet Glove Cast in Iron: The Films of Tura Satana
(front cover by Keith Decesare of KAD Creations)
|I'm climbing the stairway to Cinematic Heaven to review everything in the IMDb Top 250 List, supposedly the greatest motion pictures of all time. Are they really? Find out here.|
|I'm also driving the highway to Cinematic Hell for the awesome folks at Cinema Head Cheese to post a review a week of the very worst films of all time. These are so bad that they make Uwe Boll look good.|
|I'm reviewing everything shown at the International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival, now in its 9th year. Here's an index to my reviews of 2013 films and to my reviews of all 2012 films.|
|I'm also going to review everything I can from the Phoenix Film Festival, now in its 13th year. Here's an index to my reviews of 2013 films.|
|I reviewed all films shown at the independent horror film festival, Phoenix FearCon, now in its 5th year. Here's an index to my 2012 festival reviews.|