Damaged (2007) – By Nic Brown

 What is real and what is not? That is the question at the heart of writer/director Paul Rinehard’s film; Damaged. When 10-year old Emily’s mother dies of an apparent suicide, no one believes that it was anything except the tragic end to a troubled woman’s life. But was it? Emily (Sadie Rinehard) and her grandmother (Barb Alloy) don’t believe so. Unfortunately, both seem to be suffering from schizophrenia, and reality at times is a fluid thing for them. This leaves the viewer questioning what really did happen to Emily’s mother and what, if anything, now stalks her and her grandmother.

Because of Emily’s and her grandmother’s mental instability, a young woman named Kate (Tiffaney Dantinne) is sent to stay with them and act as a caregiver for one night. Now Kate is drawn into their world and it is up to her to save Emily from a threat that may be more than just in her mind.

Paul Rinehard’s film Damaged is an interesting take on a traditional murder mystery. The use of the mental illness experienced by Emily and her grandmother as a way to warp reality for the view was innovative. The visual imagery of the psychotic episodes was well done, and added to the film’s mystery. Rinehard also made good use of traditional gore effects during the film’s more gruesome scenes. Also worth noting were the performances by Sadie Rinehard as Emily and Barb Alloy as her grandmother.  They both did an amazing job portraying people with mental illness. The film’s one weakness seems to be that the mix of reality and fantasy is sometimes confusing to the viewer when it spreads to Kate’s perceptions as well. That said, Damaged is a well made film that delivers suspense, chills and some good old fashioned scares, so check it out today!

If you’d like to find out more about this film, you can check out the film’s website at http://www.damagedmovie.com.