Sunday, 7 December 2014

RAW REVIEW — DEADLY REVISIONS

DISCLAIMER: This blog is not affiliated with Bill Oberst Jr. in any way.

Well, I thought I might as well stick that in there because, well, another week, another Bill Oberst Jr. film!

So far he's had two hits here at the house (with Circus of the Dead and A Grim Becoming), would his run continue with Deadly Revisions?
After a quick chat with the fantastically friendly and enthusiastic Gregory Blair, I was in the position to find out. Read on...

DEADLY REVISIONS (2013)


Dir: Gregory Blair
Starring: Bill Oberst Jr., Mikhail Blokh, Lise Hart, Cindy Merrill 

SPEEDY SYNOPSIS: I’ll try not to spoil too much here, but read on at your own risk.

Deadly Revisions is the story of horror film maker, Grafton Torn (Oberst), who starts the film immediately after a terrible accident.
Torn awakes in a hospital bed, with several nasty injuries and no memory of how he ended up there. It seems Torn took a terrible fall down a flight of stairt, where he was discovered by his friend and film collaborator, Deter (Blokh).
As Torn recovers from his injuries he is haunted by horrific nightmares — often featuring the very characters he has created to terrify others, including a hooded hangman and Snuff the Demon Doll.
Furthermore, Torn is assigned a therapist, Dr Morris (Merrill), who attempts to use hypnotherapy to unlock his memories. As the film progresses these memories give us an insight into Torn's deteriorating relationship with his wife Kat (Hart).
As the re-emerging memories and nightmare hallucinations continue, Deter takes Torn to a quiet, secluded woodland cabin to convalesce in peace.
However, the terrifying visions continue and Torn finds his grip on sanity starting to slip. Just what did happen on the fateful night of his fall... and what toll will discovering the truth have on him?


BEST BITS (mild spoiler warning): 
Perhaps the one thing more astonishing than the prolific rate at which Bill Oberst Jr cranks out films is the fact that he seems to be consistently fantastic in each and every role!
I've raved about Oberst at length before, but this film gives us a different type of onscreen persona from him: a fragile, damaged lead. He is (again) really quite marvellous. I'll cut this short — Oberst is the face of this film, the character through which we are all shown the story as it unfolds and his performance anchors the entire thing perfectly. It's 3/3 for Oberst here at the house now, he's starting to give Lance Fucking Hendersen a run for his money at patron saint of Hickey's House of Horrors!
Of course, a great lead performance can only go so far if the story fails to captivate. Luckily, Deadly Revisions is one of the more intelligent psychological thrillers I've come across in quite some time. A damaged and unreliable protagonist, shifty side characters, an examination of creativity and sanity — Deadly Revisions feels very much like the sort of film Alfred Hitchcock would have made in his latter years. In fact, a couple of times the film seems to wear its Hitchcock influences on its sleeve, and more power to Blair and his team for that!
The story has some fine twists that always make sense within the film and never cheat the viewer — pay attention throughout and you will see that you are shown everything you need to piece this puzzle together. It shows supremely confident film making and I applaud it.
The skill in the writing is also apparent in some quite sparkling snippets of dialogue. I particularly enjoyed the scene in which Torn is interviewed and gives an articulate and impassioned defence of the horror genre. It felt very much as if Blair was using then character to speak not just for himself, but for each of us fans, and I for one agreed wholeheartedly with every word.
It is not just Blair's writing that deserves praise, but also his assured direction. The film is shot well, especially when you take into account that a large amount of the film takes place within a single setting. And what a setting! The cabin and surrounding woodland is beautiful (the sort of place I'd kill to holiday in!), yet when the sun goes down and the night draws in, it is transformed to a horribly isolated cage, surrounded on all sides by shadows and worse. Apparently this cabin was used as a location for Friday the 13th: Part IV, so it has its own horror legacy. Nice touch, guys. 
Finally, I loved Snuff! Screw Annabelle, if ever a horror film doll deserved its own spin off, Torn's Demon Doll is it. Now I know what to ask Santa for this year! 


WORST BITS (mild spoiler warning): 
There’s not much that I can find fault with in this film. I suppose that at times its lower budget became a little apparent, but as the film very sensibly never overreached, it managed to avoid a lot of the problems that besiege indie horror films. The times when it did threaten to become an issue were often cleverly covered through camerawork and lighting, so became less of an issue.
While I have singled Oberst's work out for praise, a couple of times some of the supporting actors didn't quite match his level. I suppose this is one of the drawbacks of having an actor of his considerable talents in your film - your supporting cast all need to be on top of their game at all times. Don't get me wrong, there's nobody in the film that stinks by any stretch, it's just the odd very rare line delivery here and there. Not anything that will ruin anybody's enjoyment of the film, so let's move on!
Finally, while the clever plotting and twists and turns were always very entertaining, I did spot one quite large reveal coming from quite a way off. Obviously I won't go into further details as I don't wish to ruin anybody's enjoyment of the film. However, I will say that while I saw this particular twist coming I most definitely did not see where the film went from there, so it never became predictable. Perhaps it's just that I'm rather a cynical fan of Hitchcock, De Palma and other greats of the thriller genre speaking there!


VERDICT: Even if Deadly Revisions didn't feature another fantastic performance from Bill Oberst Jr, I'd recommend it. The fact that it does just makes it that bit easier!
Feeling a little like a nightmarish variation of Murder She Wrote directed by David Lynch, it's a film for people who want some brains with their bloodshed.
Blair himself described the film to me as 'a fun, creepy throw-back, valentine to the horror genre' and he really has hit the nail on the head. It's picked up plenty of awards on the festival circuit and I've got a feeling it'll be nabbing a few more in the months ahead. Check it out, but before you do, head over to the film’s official Facebook page and be sure to Like it. Blair and the team definitely deserve it.     

If you haven’t already, do please check out and like the Hickey’s House of Horrors Facebook page, which you can find here. It gives you a nice quick link to any new posts on this blog, plus regular news updates from around the web. I check the Internet so you don’t have to! Alternatively, follow me on twitter: The House@HickeysHorrors

Until next time, I hope you enjoyed your stay

No comments:

Post a Comment