Erik Bloomquist’s Long Lost begins with Seth (Adam Weppler) receiving a piece of mail from his brother Richard (Nicholas Tucci). This comes as a shock to Seth, who was unaware he had a sibling. Richard only recently found out himself, and thus, the letter. In the message, the fabulously wealthy Richard asks his long-lost younger brother to visit him for a few days. Seth readily agrees and arrives at the lavish manor in short order.
However, things don’t sit right with Seth almost as soon as he gets there. For one thing, Richard either forgot to mention or intentionally withheld, that his significant other Abby (Catherine Corcoran) is also there. Seth accidentally walks in on her in the shower, but Abby does not seem to mind. She is entranced by the calmer yet unsure Seth, as Richard’s competitive, domineering nature — the man absolutely hates to lose anything — can by trying at times.
Richard wastes little time pushing Seth’s buttons. He continually calls out his younger brother for not planning everything out and lacking confidence. Why does it seem as if Richard is trying to keep Seth at a distance? How much more abuse can Seth, and Abby for that matter, put up with? What secrets is Richard keeping from his brother?
“How much more abuse can Seth, and Abby for that matter, put up with? What secrets is Richard keeping from his brother?”
While Long Lost might sound like it would be a drama about a controlling man’s life slipping away, that isn’t accurate. Under Erik Bloomquist’s exquisite direction, the film is a head-spinning thriller. On their first night together, Richard challenges Seth to a game of “fluffy bunny.” A game where two people alternate putting marshmallows in their mouth, one, or two, at a time. After each marshmallow, the words “fluffy bunny” must be uttered distinctly and audibly.
Bloomquist turns “fluffy bunny,” a grade school game into a tense standoff of wills. Much to Richard’s shock, and anger, Seth wins. Richard’s outburst after losing is so violent that the viewer becomes afraid for the other two houseguests, and this is one of the tamer scenes in the movie. Bloomquist consistently finds a way to up the ante in a believable, yet nerve-wracking way.
Working from his script, based on a story by himself, Carson Bloomquist, and star Adam Weppler, director Bloomquist takes a simple set up and makes the most out of it. Abby tells Seth that Richard has no pets, yet Seth is awakened by a dog in the house one night. Thanks to sharp writing, it comes across as more mysterious and creepy, than it may sound. Abby’s flirtation with Seth works well, and never feels gratuitous. Also, for a screenplay with only four speaking roles, one of them for less than ten minutes, the dialogue never gets repetitive or dull.
“…more mysterious and creepy, than it may sound.”
With a cast that did not share strong chemistry Long Lost would have been buried under its own weight. However, Weppler, Tucci, and Corcoran are all brilliant. Weppler’s confusion over the odd things he sees is believable. In a hot tub, Richard bullies Seth until the younger family admits to finding Abby attractive. Weppler is visibly uncomfortable, and he sells the escalating insanity perfectly.
As Richard, Tucci is revelatory. His threats and violent tendencies are creepy, yet his smaller, more intimate conversations are just as believable. Corcoran is charming as the lady whose allegiances seem to be shifting to whoever can fulfill her needs in that exact moment. When she tells Seth that he can join Richard and her in their bedroom, she hides possible devious motivations stunningly.
Long Lost, Erik Bloomquist’s feature-length debut is a confident, impressive mystery-thriller. The actors are amazing, the cinematography and lighting are great, and the directing wrings tension out of every scene. This is a thrilling watch that will get under everyone’s skin.
Long Lost (2019) Directed by Erik Bloomquist. Written by Erik Bloomquist. Starring Adam Weppler, Nicholas Tucci, Catherine Corcoran, Fran Kranz.
10 out of 10 Gummi Bears