11 March 2013

Kiss the Abyss 2010 - REVIEW

There really is nothing I like more than having a day off during the week when all the kids are gone and the animals are on their best behavior. It's days like that I get to veg out in front of the TV and catch up on the stacks of films that need to be reviewed. I've found myself slacking quite a bit lately but alas, real life must come first.

Mark (Scott Wilson) and Lesley (Nikki Moore) are newlyweds who are madly in love with each other but struggling to make ends meet. She's an aspiring artist and he's a mechanic but they're happy with where they are in life. When a home invasion takes an ugly turn and Lesley ends up dead, Mark joins forces with her estranged father Harold (James Mathers) to bring her back. They take a trip out into the desert to meet up with Gus (Douglas Bennett), a colorful man with a knack for raising the dead. Things go fairly well and it's back to life as they know it except that Lesley now has a thirst for blood and she will do just about anything to get it.

This film had three major elements working against it from the get go... it's a small budgeted indie horror film, it was helmed by a first time director Ken Winkler and the script is the first "produced" script by Winkler and his writing partner Eric Rucker. If you take into account the cast of mostly unknowns, it's hard to imagine this one going anywhere or even being that great. At least that's how it usually goes, hell I've seen films with name actors that tank in the first fifteen minutes. This one, however, surprised me. The story, while not all that original, still holds up as a solid foundation for a good film. Winkler and Rucker use some pretty clever writing techniques, especially in the beginning, telling most of the base of the story through flashbacks sequences. Once the past catches up with the present, all bets are off and the film's pace picks up rather quickly.

Here's the down side... the ADR is painfully distracting and the film suffers because it. It also doesn't do the actors any favors either. Nothing recorded in post seems to have the same "in the heat of the moment" feel to it as it does when it's captured while filming. You have these fantastic facial expressions yet the energy in the voice that makes it believable isn't quite there. Aside from that, the acting was pretty good. The chemistry between Wilson and Moore was convincing and they interacted well with each other. But the show stopper performance has to go to Bennett. His kaleidoscopic portrayal of Gus was enjoyable to watch. He easily comes off as the guy you'd want to have a beer with.... if he didn't have that whole morbid ability to raise the dead thing.

Ultimately, this is a great watch. The makeup effects are really well done. Specifically Lesley's transformation and the paint job and prosthetics on the Angel. Both were outstanding and helped make up for some of the other issues I had with the film. The picture quality is good as well as the lighting, especially the basement scenes. The blue tones scream despair and sorrow and you pretty much know that nothing good is going to come from that room. At least that's how I felt... that really heavy feeling. Kiss the Abyss does have something special and I see a great future for Winkler and Rucker in the horror business. I look forward to seeing what they come up with next.

1 comment:

  1. Hmmm, this does seem like an interesting movie. It'll certainly fill in a small part of the void between now and Evil Dead release. Good review. :)