“It has to be real!”; a quote said several times throughout this film about a home invasion/abduction of an unsuspecting actress. The actress; Janet, played by Bonnie Root; answers her door to a late-night delivery man with a strange oversized package that he claims is for her. Not only is it an odd time of night for a delivery, but something doesn’t seem right about this delivery man. Walter, who is played by Jarrod Pistilli, recognizes Janet as a childhood actress that he loves, and asks Janet if she would be able to take a look at the script that he has been working on. Weird, right? After some awkward interactions, Walter, an obsessed hyper-fan of a director, decides he wants Janet to be the lead in his new movie, and from there, we are off to the races. With his script in hand, Walter is able to force his way into Janet’s home, take her as his hostage, and go scene by scene with every detail of his script, while wheeling her all around the house, taped to a dolly and filming her on his go-pro cameras.
Home invasion films are not uncommon in the horror genre, but unfortunately this one fell incredibly flat for me. The premise is pretty easy to follow where there is a obsessed fan, who breaks his way into the home of a well-known actress, and takes her as a hostage to film his movie, almost like he had planned this for months. The premise isn’t really the problem, as the problem lies within the execution. The small cast of two actors do their best at trying to carry you through the movie, but the writing was not enough to hold my complete attention in this 85-minute slog of a film. Director Michael Mandell wasted no time getting to the point of the invasion/abduction, but once we are there, we tiptoe around this make-believe film as if there is no urgency. Bonnie hardly seems scared throughout the film and it throws off the entire tone, making it confusing on what type of movie they were trying to make. The film makes small twists and turns, but ultimately the twists don’t lead to any satisfying results.
Janet, who is taped to the dolly for 90% of the film, which is made by Walter, was used to film incredibly awkward scenes for his movie, including an entire scene where Walter tries to poop with her in the bathroom. He can’t and she tells him to sing the national anthem to try and help. The scenes seem so thoughtless and feel like they were afterthoughts on the day of shooting. There are scenes where there is dancing, body mutilation, and even an awkward sexual assault that was so off-putting, it just felt completely unnecessary. Bonnie was definitely the real shine here, as her acting is what made the film worth sitting through, as Jarrod felt so over the top and goofy that the movie couldn’t figure out if it wanted to be a comedy, horror, or both. There is literally a scene where Walter wants to film a kiss scene and instead decides to lick Bonnie’s face and he tells Janet he didn’t get the shot the first time, so they do it TWICE. The score for the film also had awkward placement playing at the most inopportune times, with music elements that didn’t really fit the emotion being shown to the viewers on screen. Any time music came on, it felt so inorganic and made me feel like I was watching a sitcom.
I will commend the film for trying to do something different, but nothing felt accomplished or achieved by the end. There was no underlying meaning, no secret message, and no redemption. Just the story of a crazed person torturing and abducting someone for no reason. The Movie ultimately feels like a underwhelming and forgettable mess, and ends up being completely passable.
Review By: Dimitreus Newell