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Thursday, 9 August 2012

Darker Suggestion (2003)

Director: Joseph J Greenberg
Stars: Melina Zarafonits, C R Oberlin, Karen Kweitniak, Kristin Hammond and Vincent DiConstanzo

The opening text explains what telekinesis is, just in case we'd never seen it used in a dozen films this week. The credits unfold over varied texts in a progression of different written languages, from hieroglyphics to modern French and English, which looks awesome but has nothing to do with the movie. Then we switch to St Francis Medical Center where Pam is explaining to Reg in the car park why it's OK not to worry about her mum because now the doctors know what's wrong and they're fixing it. Mum is in the hospital with really bad grey streaks in her hair, but we're not sure quite what the problem is. Reg is the lead character (a girl by the way, it's short for Regina), as she's the one who discovers that she's blessed and cursed with telekinesis. Initially it's a blessing, because she can do some really cool things even by the time her egotist boyfriend Frank turns up, but then she tells her mother, who explains that it's a hereditary thing and it comes with a curse.

Thus far this short film has been a capable thing: the camerawork decent rather than memorable, acting decent rather than great, the story opening up with potential. There are downsides though. There's what appears to be a tendency towards product placement, with a Clorox here and a VO5 there, even though I'm guessing it's coincidental. Every male character is an egotist, starting with Frank. 'I love you,' Reg tells him. 'You're only human,' comes the reply. If Frank is bad, Skip is even worse, even when he's just playing a video game. However from here the flaws start to take over. Now Reg has found her power, the dark men are going to come for her, her mother explains. There will probably be two of them, different for each generation, but she doesn't explain who they are or why they're coming. They're just 'of the night', which is a little vague given the circumstances. Sure enough, they arrive and attempt to take her down, cut rate zombies with no motivation.

There's still good work in the second half of the short, most obviously with the effects which are excellent, full of animated wires and flying implements. I shouldn't have noticed the fish though. When the world stops except for Reg and the dark men, three of them this time, the fish carry on regardless. The make up is terrible. One guy has a large burn mark literally stuck onto his face and the edges are all turned up. They move slowly and stupidly, like zombies with guns, and the entire point of their existence seems to be to attack Reg and lose. I'd like this film a lot more if there was a reason given for Flannel Dark Man, Denim Dark Man and T-Shirt Dark Man to do what they do, but that's entirely ignored in the grand scheme of things. Presumably the point of the picture is to illustrate a point in time where a young lady grows up and comes into her own, and that's fine, but if you're going to build a mythology, give it some reasons to exist. Without that this is minor.

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