Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Throwing Tomatoes at Deer Crossing: A Movie Review

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*full disclosure: an online screening of this film was provided by Osiris Entertainment.

Director/writer: Christian Grillo.

Cast: Christopher Mann, Laura L. Cottrel, Doug Bradley, Ernie Hudson and K.J. Linhein.

Osiris Entertainment is one of this film fan's favourite distributors. They are based in Chatsworth, California and they tend to pick indie productions for their markets. Some of their films have been excellent such as: Ashes, Monsters in the Woods and Night Drive. But, every so often they will back a dismal project like Behind Your Eyes. Deer Crossing falls in this second less thrilling category.

Deer Crossing is an indie film production that was likely made for under 15K. The film notably stars: Doug Bradley (Hellraiser), Ernie Hudson (The Crow) and Christopher Mann. These actors are under utilized in a film that has no sense of pacing. There is no tension here, in what is supposed to be a thriller. The editing is lackluster while the soundtrack tries to dramatize non-events on the screen. In other words, Deer Crossing is a very poor production that has been over-extended by at least thirty minutes.

The story is actually elaborate once written out. The film initially focuses on a family of three. There is a cheating husband (Warren Hemenway), a son and a wife. The latter two members head out to a family's house. They do not make it there. And, Cole (Sebastian Banes, Kevin Fennell), the son, and his mother, Maggie (Laura L. Cottrel) are abducted by a hillbilly (K. J. Linhein). They are held for the next eight years while the father does his best to find them. He later hires a detective to investigate a strange phone call from Carvin County. The investigator, played by Christopher Mann, finds some low level government corruption and a few leads to the family's whereabouts.

The story is actually interesting on paper, but the delivery is very poor. Overly dramatic music tries to amplify tension that is not occurring onscreen. The music and the action are completely out of sync. The pacing is overly slow. There is just no motivation for the film to move forward. Without a pace, there can be no tension. Scenes of dialogue are held for far too long. An interaction between Sheriff Lock (Doug Bradley) and Lukas, the abductor, rambles on. This scene could have been summed up in 30 seconds; yet, it continues minutes later. Meanwhile, director Christian Grillo is playing it safe with the camera. He uses medium shots, even though closeups would have been more effective. The acting is usually adequate until late in the picture. An unnamed child interrogator is unbelievable as a specialist. When is harassment, antagonism and heavy smoking a tool for building rapport with a sexual abuse survivor? The problems with this film just go on and on.

Deer Crossing is a very poor movie. This reviewer had a very hard time sticking with this film. There are pointless scenes, the villain is very non-terrifying and subplots are absurd. The music is off, the acting is unbelievable in sections, the editing poor and the list of inadequate film elements continues. There really is no reason to see this film unless you are part of the film's cast or crew. Everyone else should give Osiris Entertainment's latest film plenty of distance.

Overall: 5.5 out of 10 (adequate use of lighting, directing, and storytelling, acting is okay, editing is poor, the film is much too long, music is too prominent).

*unbelievably, a sequel has already been announced for this film titled Deer Crossing: The Legend of Carvin County.

Please go to the film's fan page and throw tomatoes at the producers here:

Deer Crossing on Facebook

More on Osiris Entertainment can be found here:

Deer Crossing at Osiris Ent.

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