Friday, April 16, 2010

DIFF 2010 - Eric Travels Out Of Walking Distance

A idyllic, small, self-sufficient community. On the surface, it seems like the perfect neighborhood. Everything you could possibly need is within walking distance. But...the pastoral exterior conceals a dark past and an even darker secret. As a group of individuals-each with their own ties and agendas with the town and each other-converges on the enclave, strange things begin to happen. Very strange things. Strange enough to test- and then break-the very fabric of reality itself.

After what seems like almost two years, Mel House’s independent horror / sci-fi film Walking Distance has finally officially been released. To say it’s a strange little film would be a grave disservice to this project. This is truly something different for those horror fans tired of Jason, Michael Myers, and Freddy. This is thinking man’s horror.

Story wise, I’m not sure I can even fully give you anything to go on. It’s extremely complex and will definitely take you more than one watch to fully take in. I can tell you that director House also wrote the script and a very dark little mind is floating around in that head of his. You can feel the H.P. Lovecraft and A Nightmare on Elm Street influences all over this.

As far as the actors in this film go, you’ve got an interesting bunch of new and veteran players put together. Reggie Bannister from the Phantasm films has a big role and does a great job of running around acting crazy and disturbed by what he thinks are visions. Glenn Morshower (Transformers movies, Star Trek, 24, The Crazies), who usually plays CIA or FBI agents or military generals, gets to break out of his stereotype by simply playing one of the character’s fathers that figures into the story. The real stand-out performance in this comes from first Friday the 13th scream queen Adrienne King. This is her first starring part in front of the camera since her role as sweet Alice in 1981’s Friday the 13th, Part 2. To say the role is a complete 180 from her portrayal of Alice in the Friday movies would be an understatement. In Walking Distance, she plays Louise Strack, who is basically the devious and evil mind behind the terrible manifestations that are happening throughout the town. You can tell that she was reveling in the chance to play someone deliciously devilish. It also features Katie Featherston from Paranormal Activity in the role of the lead character's girlfriend.

Special effects-wise, this runs the whole gambit. You’ve got the old trustworthy slime and ooze practically covering everything. You’ve got people peeling their prosthetic skin off. There’s some skinless folks wandering around in a Hellraiser-type fashion. There’s even crazy Chucky-like dolls that come to life and slash their victims with knives coming out of their fists. CGI helps to bring to life weird sink holes that appear which suck people into them and flaming black charred burn victims that fry anyone they touch.

Anyone who enjoys a twisted horror tale with a serving of sci-fi should love this movie. Although reminiscent of 80’s horror films, it really does hold its own and tread on a different path. This is definitely a movie that you need to have your thinking cap on for. (Review by Eric Shirey)

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