18 November 2010

Fell 2010 - REVIEW

There are lots of advantages to attending indie film festivals. You get to watch new, creative films come to life on the big screen. Some of which have never been seen by an audience before. Films shot with little to no funding and in little to no time. I got to watch several short films at the DOA Blood Bath Film Festival that were written, shot and edited all in one weekend. For the most part they were fresh and creative and actually very well done. But again, they were shorts and I think sometimes working on a tight schedule can be effective but not so much in a feature. I'll elaborate more on that in a moment.

This story centers around Bill (Jeff Dylan Graham) who is one very sick puppy. The recent break up with the love of his life has sent him into a tailspin of delusion and madness. Which only intensifies when he wakes up from a drug induced sleep to find a body in his bathtub. He tries desperately to reach his ex-girlfriend Jenny (Katie Walters) for some kind of support. Not being able to reach her just pushes him deeper and deeper into depression. He's pretty much at his breaking point when his long time friend Derrik (Kristian Day) shows up. Bill confides in Derrik about his little visitor in tub and after some discussion, they agree the body should be disposed of before anyone finds out. Unfortunately Jenny shows up before that can happen. Unfortunately for Bill and his friends, the truth is far more complicated than any of them could've predicted.

Let me first start off by saying that Graham is the bright point of this film. His performance was solid and he seemed really immersed in his character which is probably why he took home the award for Best Performance in a Feature. That said, I wasn't at all impressed by the film itself. The twists and turns thrown in to surprise the viewer were completely predictable. I had it figured out within the first 5 minutes. What was meant to be a psychological thriller just came of as bland and even boring at times. Other than a couple of outside shots, the whole film took place inside one small apartment which I'm guessing they were hoping to create a claustrophobic atmosphere but even that didn't really work for me. The score was so irritating it became deafening at times and didn't do anything to enhance the film. You may be asking why I'm being so hard on this film when I took extra steps to be constructive with my criticism of another film from the festival. I'm gonna answer that now...

I can't remember all of what was talked about during the Q&A but it was something about another film, the firing of an actor, a hotel room... Oh and 90 WORDS ON A PAGE! That's right, there was no script for this film at all. Just 90 or so words scribbled in a note pad and 3 days of shooting. And let me tell you, it showed. I seem to also remember some talk of "coming up with something new and different". This is where it gets pretty over the top ridiculous for me. I'm not sure how someone can say they wanted to bring something new to the table when this is clearly a blatant rip off of Adam Green and Joel David Moore's Spiral. From the lead actor's gentle psychosis right down to the hallway shots of the bathroom door. The only difference was Green's film had substance and this one didn't. Then again, I'm not sure how much substance can be reached in a mere 3 day shoot. I'm not a film expert but it doesn't seem to me that Marcus Koch and his team put their best foot forward on this project. I think they were just jazzed to make a film and decided to go with it.

In the end Fell really should've been F-A-I-L. If you're looking for an taut psychological thriller, I'd recommend a viewing of Spiral instead.

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