DIFF 2010 - Reesa Is In The Wake Of Mystery

Wake Review:
A young couple trying to keep awake while driving to a wedding is about 2 hours from Los Angeles. Their playful banter brings unease to Paul, but his girlfriend Adrienne doesn’t notice. She starts to nuzzle him while he’s behind the wheel which causes him to lose control and they spin off the road.

Remarkably they are unhurt, so Adrienne (Jamie Lynn-Sigler) says they have to stop at a hotel, preferably something sleazy since she’s feeling a bit randy. They stop at this vintage looking place that has cabins. It’s run by Frank (Chris Browning) who seems to be working alone and very insistent about being a help to them for anything. They rush off to cabin 6 and proceed to do their thing, but something is bothering Paul (Josh Stewart). He tells Adrienne he doesn’t want to make love to her.

He storms off and goes to the coffee shop. It’s dark and the juke box is playing the same song, “The Devil in His Heart” by the Donays, over and over again. Frank shows up and turns it off. He gives Paul a cup of coffee and cherry pie before leaving him for the motel office. Suddenly a man (Afemo Omilami) walks in speaking cryptically to Paul. He knows Paul and seems to know his “secret” - The “thing” that is making Paul uncomfortable.

Paul returns to his room apologizing to Adrienne when he starts to feel sick to his stomach. He runs to the bathroom and while there finds a Bible verse written on the inside of a cupboard. He checks the motel room Bible and finds a note inside which freaks him out. He tries to show Adrienne, but apparently was imagining it all when there is no proof. When a VCR tape shows up, Paul really starts to lose control.

Meanwhile, this story is interspersed with the story of Frank and Sandy (Angela Featherstone). He was a meek security guard who gets fired from his job for using some store merchandise inappropriately. His wife was on her way to a woman’s support group but changes her mind and picks up a guy at a local bar to bring home. Frank unfortunately walks in on them and the obvious ensues. Paul is seeing Sandy hanging around the motel and once in his room while he’s sleeping with Adrienne.

Somehow, director / writer Chad Feehan manages to unite these storylines in his first feature. The transitions between the storylines are at times jarring. It’s hard to tell what is going on. The dialogue is a bit murky, especially when Paul is talking to the cryptic man. The story of Frank and Sandy would have been more compelling than wimpy Paul’s dilemma. The film just falls short of being spooky and mysterious. It helped that the moody vintage motel in the middle of nowhere says creepy all over it. (Review by Reesa Cruz Hawkins of Dallas Movie Screenings)