107 min., 2009
Written by Jamin Winans
Directed by Jamin Winans
My rating: ★★
A beautiful dark fantasy with a hint of horror.
* * *
We begin with a man named John (Chris Kelly) who’s having a really bad day. At least that’s the way it seems with the amount of times that he is yelling “fuck” while driving. Suddenly he is hit by another vehicle. Next we see a hand appear and touch him on the head. He then wakes to his daughter Emma (Quinn Hunchar) telling him that it’s his turn. It jumps to her running and telling him that they need to build a fort before the monster comes. John is having a really hard time getting into it, but after a few minutes he jumps headlong in and “saves” his daughter. Next we see a group of different people going to sleep and in the streets we hear a sound and people start to appear. They go into the different rooms and place their hands on the people’s heads which causes them to have good dreams. We learn later that these people are called Storytellers. Another person appears in the street, but he is very different looking. He is clad in all leather and has a plate of glass in front of his face that makes its face black and white. He goes to a room and while there induces nightmares. He is one of the Incubi. Next we see a Storyteller, Live (Jessica Duffy), in Emma’s room who isn’t going to sleep. Once she does another man or sort of man appears. His name is Ink and once he touches her Live jumps through the window. A fight breaks out and Ink takes off with Emma (actually it’s her soul). Can the Storytellers get Emma back or will Ink finally be able to become one of the Incubi that he has been working so long for?
The acting in the movie is great. Everyone turns in a phenomenal performance with Chris Kelly and Jessica Duffy (who plays one of the storytellers that gets captured by Ink) bringing in the best. The biggest surprise to me was Quinn Hunchar. I normally hate child actors and even when they are good they still suck. But Quinn pulls off her role with complete conviction. Her transformation into a lioness is really well done and by the end she really is a lot stronger. The other good acting job is by the man who played Ink. He comes off as completely lost and lonely with believability. In the end everyone went beyond the call of duty and made the characters very lifelike.
The effects of the movie are really top notch. There is a lot of CG but it only enhances the feel of the movie. It fits the story because they only really use it when it’s actually necessary. When they are between worlds it works and makes sense, in fact there are no times that I can think of where the CG interrupted any scene. That is truly a feat. The other use of effects, if you want to call them that, is the use of shadows. There is one scene where John is talking to his father-in-law and as John is getting angrier the space behind him just gets darker and darker. It’s pretty neat and helps the mood. The only aspect of the effects that I didn’t enjoy was during the fight scenes. Now the fights are well done and I do believe that they are actual fighters (no, I haven’t done any research but their fights are flawless), but they consistently use a shaky camera and it just starts to get annoying after a while. Luckily the fights aren’t that long.
Now with how much I am praising the movie, then why did I give it such a bad rating? It’s very simple. There is almost no horror to be found. Beside the shots of one of the nightmares and a few tiny scenes there is no horror. Outside the realm of horror this movie gets four stars without question. It’s beautiful to watch, the story is compelling, the characters are likeable (even when you hate them) and at the end you are pretty much on the end of your seat hopping it all ends happy. Does it? You’ll just have to watch to see. Let me just put it this way, I had a few tears building up inside. Trust me this movie is worth it.Have You Read...?