Friday, January 06, 2017

Bornless Ones Could Have Used a Little More Gauze: A Film Review

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*an online screener of this film was provided by Uncork'd Entertainment.

Director/writer: Alexander Babaev.

Cast: Margaret Judson, Devin Goodsell, Michael Johnston, Mark Furze and Bobby T.

Bornless Ones is an upcoming indie horror release from Uncork'd Entertainment. The film is a demonic possession thriller, which admits its influences, specifically Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead (1981). The film could easily be used as a "What Not to Do" in regards to first-aid. These characters take a lot of damage, with friends causing a lot of the pain. The acting is also decent, despite some of the cast lacking extensive acting experience. The actors sell the film, especially the grimmer parts. This film viewer had only one major complaint, involving demonic possession. The characters's free will is removed, when the demons just takeover their bodies. As it is, Bornless Ones is an enjoyable time spent with a number of bloody scenarios.

Horror films are all about the story. In Bornless Ones, Emily (Margaret Judson) has lost her parents, in a tragic car accident. She is left with her brother, Zach (Michael Johnston), who has cerebral palsy. If that was not enough tragedy, Emily has just bought a new, demonic-infused cabin.

The cabin is the central setting of the story. The cabin's previous owner has summoned a number of demons, into the loghouse. A great example of why you should not purchase a home over the internet, Emily must now do her best, with a number of sigils, to expel these uninvited guests. A lot of blood will be shed before Emily can hope to escape this hell house.

Horror films are never meant to instill much first-aid knowledge; however, there is something that can be learned within Bornless Ones, how not to do first-aid! If someone has a knife, a piece of rebar, or a fire poker sticking out of them, just leave it in. Unless you don't like the person, sharp pointy things should always be left in the body, until a hospital is reached. But, in the film, no one wants to go to the hospital? None of the characters even mention the hospital. Meanwhile, Emily is doing her best to kill her boyfriend, Jesse (Devin Goodsell), by pulling a knitting needle out of his eye, or a fire poker out of his stomach. As an aside, this critic works in a field where first-aid knowledge is necessary and many a dire situation has been seen, by this worker. So, it always cringe-worthy to see characters treating other characters so dreadfully. But, if characters acted smartly, in horror films, there would be a whole lot less horror.

This avid film viewer also enjoyed much of the acting in Bornless Ones. Mark Furze was great in D.J. Viola's Tell Me How I Die (2016). In this horror film, Furze delivers a naturalness to many of his scenes, keeping the film moving ahead, believably. From party guy to possessed demon, Furze also adds energy to the film and possibly an improvised line or two. This watcher only had one criticism, regarding another actor. Margaret Judson has only starred in a few roles and she must anchor the film here as the protagonist. She is too soft spoken in some of her earlier scenes and not expressive enough. For instance, she sits in a vehicle as Jesse goes about helping her brother, Zach. Passivity is not appropriate here. An interaction between Emily and Jesse, over a wheelchair, also comes across as inauthentic. In later scenes, involving more horror, Judson improves with the material. A scene involving Emily and a demonic mother is especially well done, with tears enhancing the emotion onscreen. And, it is interesting to see an actress adapt to the more action oriented scenes versus the early, more relational ones. Overall, the veil of realism holds steady, through much of the film.

In the writing, this viewer only had one criticism; the characters should have been given the choice of demonic possession. As it is, the summoned demons simply take over the host, with little effort. In reality, people have free will. Free will puts the responsibility of choices on the shoulders of the person, making them and they must live with any consequences, from those choices. But, the film and the writing remove any free will from the characters. They cannot be seduced by evil, only succumb to it. It would have been more compelling to see characters struggle more with these demons, internally. As an example, the character Zach is crippled by cerebral palsy and the demon's can repair his defect. It would have been interesting to see Zach say "yes," before a demon possessed him. Their is a reward, for Zach, when possessed - the ability to walk. But, Zach is never given the choice, diminishing his free will. Threats can come from outside, but they can also come from within, through internal struggles.

Bornless Ones also wants to possess you. The film will have a Video-on-demand release in early February. And, Bornless Ones might be a very disturbing, but romantic Valentine's gift. The film offers a number of hair-raising and blood-curdling scenarios. Also, the interplay between the cast is often believable, increasing the film's realism (outside of the medical attention). The demonic takeover is a little too quick, diminishing the characters' efficacy. However, director Alexander Babaev has created an enjoyable demonic world, here. This film viewer recommends you say "yes" to Bornless Ones, on February 10th!

Overall: 7.5 out of 10.

A trailer for the film is available here: A Bornless Ones Trailer on 28DLA

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