In the hallowed halls of St. Sebastian’s Quiet Academy for Disreputable Youth, things are indeed quiet, probably because no one’s allowed to do anything. The boys drift mournfully around, attend ‘classes’ where they act out doubtful morality plays, and are forced to wear identical outfits of tan pants and light blue shirts. One character plays music on a boom box and I was shocked they allowed such goings-on. If the kids only wore darker clothes it would be like there was constantly a funeral in progress.
Getting kidnapped by a sacrificial satanic cult is the sort of thing that can ruin your whole life. Just ask Gloria (Nina Kiri), who is still struggling with the fallout five years later. Still, Gloria is one of the lucky ones, since this particular satanic cult has a weird idea of sacrifice — they killed themselves rather than the girl they kidnapped, leaving her covered in blood and completely freaked out, but alive.
On a warm June day in the 1970’s, a young couple drives along isolated, wooded roads en route to the small town of Willow, Maine, where they’ve rented a house for the summer. It’s a quiet, sleepy sort of place, but that’s what they want, since John Graham (Brian Ashton Smith) is a writer and wants time to work on his craft. It’s less clear how wife Elise (Anne-Marie Kennedy) will occupy herself, however. The premise is somewhat like The Shining — not surprising since both plots sprang from the dark corners of Stephen King’s mind — but in this case there’s neither a large hotel nor a small boy to look after.
But Elise is certainly troubled, and perhaps hopes that this time away from it all will be therapeutic even though the locals are a bit odd. Henry (Kermit Rolison), for example, is sometimes friendly and sometimes a master of the awkward stare. Laura (Jan Mary Nelson), on the other hand, is somewhere between friendly and panicked, telling them it’s the rainy season and urging them to spend the night at a motel instead of the perfectly good house they’ve already paid for. It’s a strange welcome, to say the least, and Elise and John hardly know what to say.
They’re determined to stay in their house, though, and it’s hard to blame them. Certainly it seems like a nice house, if badly lit, but that’s standard for horror movies. The poor kids have barely started to settle in when the movie suddenly starts rushing towards its ending, dragging them headlong with it. It’s a good ending — as wry and laconic as the most grizzled New Englander, but still excellently, quietly creepy. The problem is that the ending was a little too close to the beginning, and it might have worked better as at least a half-hour short instead of twenty minutes.
The good news is that the film is well-acted and has a solid sense of atmosphere. It also doesn’t attempt to show much of the horrors that the characters see, instead letting the unlimited budget of the viewer’s imagination take over, which is always better. Mostly I’m wishing there could be a director’s cut version that might expand a little more on the build of tension, not to mention Elise’s issues and their effect on her marriage. But it was still an enjoyable watch, giving an entertaining glimpse of a little-known King short story that’s almost biblical.
The moment she appears on screen, it’s clear that Astrid (Rebecca Martos) is having a rough time. She sits alone in bars and restaurants, waiting for the chance to strike up conversations and eventually hook up with random strangers. None of these hookups make her any less alone, not even for a moment, but at the same time she can’t seem to manage without them.
If you work in an office, half the fun is keeping track of the gossip that goes around — or if you’re more like me, the gossip is actually the single biggest problem about working in an office. Who’s got the time to keep track of all that anyway? But in the workplace featured in Over Coffee, everyone knows one thing for sure: that Andrew (Erik Potempa) has a crush on Carla (Jocelyn DeBoer). David (Michael Oberholtzer) likes to tease Andrew about it, but then David’s kind of a jerk.
I hadn’t really thought about it before, but there probably aren’t an awful lot of paper and ink school newspapers anymore. Mind you, I went to school in a town so small that the school’s paper was also the town’s paper, but it does seem a shame to lose the actual newsprint. Online writing is great (I’d better say that, right?), but there is also something irreplaceable about holding a book or a newspaper in your hands.
In a residential area of southern California, two police officers (Monte James and Cliff Everett Smith) investigate a large Victorian house with blood on the welcome mat. Guns drawn, they enter cautiously, so far mercifully unaware that they are about to discover the havoc that can be wreaked by three Psychos.
What Jack Built
In a little shack somewhere deep in the woods, Jack (Timothy J. Cox, Night Job) is building something mysterious. He’s working quickly and secretly, following a set of complicated hand-drawn and illustrated plans. They seem like the sort of plans that Rube Goldberg might have designed, with added hints of Wile E. Coyote and just a touch of Da Vinci thrown in for good measure. However odd they might look, though, Jack is taking them very seriously.
College is a time when many people expand their horizons and meet people they might otherwise never have known. Of course, sometimes everyone would have been better off had certain people never met, as Catfight neatly demonstrates. Veronica (Sandra Oh) and Ashley (Anne Heche) were at least sort-of friends in college until Veronica put an end to things. Ashley is convinced that this was because she’s gay. Veronica denies it but quite frankly it’s hard to believe anything she says, at least to begin with.