Thursday, June 21, 2012

Unmasking a Killer in Deadly Renovations: A Movie Review

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Full disclosure: an online screener of this film was provided by Midnight Releasing.

Director: Robert H. Gwinn.

Writer: Charles Pisaeno.

Cast: DJ Perry, Terence Knox, Johnny Dark and Lana Wood.

Tagline: "It's All in the Plans."

Deadly Renovations was initially titled the simpler Renovations. It has been given a name change, perhaps, to make it sound more dangerous. The film does host a dangerous killer who seeks 2 million dollars of stolen cash from the Hotel del Sol. To release on DVD August 21 through Midnight Releasing, Deadly Renovations is an indie thriller with some adequate tension during the finale. You will just need to be patient to get there.

The film begins with several friends and a new project. They hope to renovate the Hotel del Sol and flip it for profit. Unfortunately for them, there are a group of thieves working in the darkness. The thieves want to find some hidden money from a bank job gone wrong. But, where is the money? That question is revealed in the ending. In the meantime, the thieves and friends lock horns over who has the right to be there. One man, armed with a hand axe, emerges as the victor.

That victor is an escaped psychiatric patient who is ill tempered. Perhaps his murderous mom turned him into a killer. Whatever the reason, a hooded figure stalks the halls of the Hotel del Sol in search of victims. And that killer is played well by an unnamed actor. You will have to see the film to find out who he/she is.

That mystery is not revealed until late in the film. To get there, fans of thrillers will have to be patient for the big reveal. Writer Charles Pisaeno and director Robert H. Gwinn build the film at an even keel. However, this reviewer did wonder at the 30 minute mark: where is the conflict? The antagonisms come at their own pace. This slow build to a climax allows the characters to become acquainted with the viewer. Some film fans will like this slower pacing while others will be looking at their watches.

Either way, Deadly Renovations is a surprisingly good thriller made for a modest budget. There are some acting foibles here and there as one actress tries to show venom. Instead, there is only laughter. Acting murderous must be a difficult task when modelling your birthday suit. Another film element is equally ambivalent. The soundtrack early in the picture sounds like early '80s techno' gone bad. Yet, the soundtrack improves along with the action over time. During the final act, events finally start to unfold, but the astute will likely be able to see through much of the film's mystery.

Deadly Renovations will be released shortly through Midnight Releasing and this reviewer would recommend the film to indie thriller fans. As long as you know the pitfalls of indie filmmaking, then you will find some charm within this picture. Others, looking for highbrow cinema will most likely be disappointed here. This reviewer enjoyed the picture despite the hamperings of a small budget. Others will see the quality here in a money heist picture that offers bloodshed at almost every turn.

Overall: 6.75 out of 10 (steady pacing, some acting issues, more red herrings were needed to hide the killers identity, music is okay, the finale is thrilling).

The film's fan page is here:

Deadly Renovations on Facebook

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