Saturday 16 October 2010

Recollection (2010)

Director: Federico D'Alessandro
Stars: Chadd Stoops, Gina Scoles and Robbie Daymond
This film was an official selection at the 6th annual International Horror & Sci-Fi Film Festival in Tempe in 2010. Here's an index to my reviews of 2010 films.

Waking up with bloody head wounds is never a good thing, but when you find yourself in a freshly dug grave with no recollection of who you are or how you got there, you know you're in trouble. Our John Doe isn't in a field in the middle of nowhere, he's in some sort of back yard surrounded by hints of danger: a bloody table here, a man with an axe over there, a collection of freaky doll parts and children's books inside the first door he finds. There's a woman there too, tied up and with her eyes removed. There are sounds of babies and cool old time Decca blues playing on a turntable. It's a sad state of affairs when the cost of licensing music has forced filmmakers to look far back in time to music that ends far more enjoyable anyway. Can our John Doe make it out alive and in one piece? Can he save the various people chained up in various stages of torture? What haven't we seen yet? Writers Christopher Ryan Yeazel and Federico D'Alessandro keep us guessing.

Chadd Stoops has a Mel Gibson thing going for him as the John Doe who serves as our focus but he moves more like Jonathan Pryce. Gina Scoles finds herself playing a character who has to spend the entire film with her eyes carved out. Robbie Daymond is a sinister shadow. For a while it seems like there's much more here than these mostly silent actors can cram into the slight fifteen minute running time. We can't help but think of the clock ticking and wonder how they're going to wrap it up, but as the suspense builds and we despair for any believable resolution, the filmmakers nail us with a peach of a finish. It's a gruesome film, but unlike most gruesome horror shorts, it aims more for suspense than gore effects and the fact that it ends up with both is a bonus, D'Alessandro's direction and Daniel Ainsworth's cinematography solid partners. D'Alessandro has a string of major Hollywood movies under his belt as a storyboard artist but this is a promising debut for him as an indie filmmaker.

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