Some independent movies are heart breaking to watch because you can see the potential for a much better movie right there on the screen, if not for limitations of budget and crew. The two-person film team of Mark
Baranowski and Ryli Morgan (DESPAIR) make their feature-debut with this intelligent slasher-mystery that tries so hard to overcome the drawbacks of lack of time and lack of money.
A young woman teams up with a police detective to solve the murder of her twin sister, the first victim of what will soon become a killing spree. It seems that someone is killing anyone who dares to audition for a certain film company – headed by the former best friends of the detective.
Baranowski had the right idea, starting with a relatively tight script. While hardly treading new ground, delivers more than one twist as the story unfolds, and actually he proves to be a decent actor as the detective. The other performers, particularly Morgan, are also fine and doing very good work. But the average viewer is going to spot the obvious problems, rather than look beyond for the more-subtle successes. Namely, the uneven color-desaturation employed to give the (sadly low-res) video a black and white look, not to mention the sometimes tedious pacing of some of the dialogue scenes that smack of obvious time padding. Still, the couple serves up enough skin and blood to keep the slasher-fans happily pressing the FF button.
The fact that filmmakers were earnest is obvious – and the “blooper reel” following the end credits confirms suspicions that they were the sole crewmembers, as well as the stars. Film-literate fans will be sharing in my sympathies and hoping that Ryli and Mark will somehow land more help and money for their next feature.