Indemnity (2011) – By Tiffany Apan

One thing I love about being in the indie world is the amount of creativity that comes out of it. With Hollywood seeming to be in a creative drought and coming out with one remake after another and being afraid to take chances on original material, being in the indie world can be a breath of fresh air to many a film/music/literature enthusiast. The creative minds that in most cases would be turned away in the mainstream market are welcomed with open arms in the underground world. The one thing, though, that may hinder the independents is budget (or lack of one). In the face of this, some filmmakers take the “easy sell” route and delve into the world of sexploitation and extreme gore. While I’m sure there will always be a market and audience for that, I’m always impressed by the indie filmmaker who manages to capture a compelling story, strong characters, and really tap into their creative imagination in spite of not having millions to make their film with. In fact, I will say that I have seen such filmmakers create better material than their massive budget Hollywood counterparts. Thus, I begin my review of a supernatural thriller titled “Indemnity” written, directed, produced, edited, and acted in by David Dietz and his production company, zDiet3 Productions.

From the moment the opening credits appeared, I was immediately reminded of the cinematography of horror films from the 1970s and 1980s (that’s a good thing). It almost has that sort of vintage atmosphere that those said eras offer in their films (I would say the red moon is definitely a welcome touch). In the opening of the film, we see Dietz (as William) running frantically through the woods. It is obvious that he is being pursued by an assailant of some kind. We are offered a clue as to who that assailant may be, but no definite answers. That is, until William takes refuge in a rural area bar (where much of the film takes place). There, he begins conversation with the bartender and owner (portrayed by Dan I. Radakovich). As William tries to get his bearings, we are offered a glimpse at his pursuer who turns out to be a woman by the name of Angela (portrayed by Crystalann Jones). As the plot unfolds, it is revealed that William and Angela were once romantically involved. We also get a glimpse into the bar owner, Joe’s past and see that he too is battling some demons of his own. As one watches this film, it becomes apparent that there is something more churning below the surface; more than what the viewer is initially told. The main characters of “Indemnity” each have their own turmoil he or she is fighting and everything is eventually revealed in a rather interesting twist.

Overall, “Indemnity” is a solid and well put together film. The dialogue (this is a pretty dialogue driven film) has a sort of timeless feel to it. In fact as I watched it, I was also able to see that dialogue and plot being acted out on a black and white screen with actors from the 1950s and early 60s in an episode of The Twilight Zone or Alfred Hitchcock Presents. There even seemed to be a touch of influence from the realm of Dark Shadows. This is a film that’s plot could probably take place anywhere from about mid 20th century to present time. The acting is pretty solid all around. Dietz offers a compelling performance as William. Radakovich’s performance as the bar owner, Joe, is capable of having the audience really sympathizing with the character. The chemistry between Dietz and Radakovich is pretty strong and can allow for the viewer’s interest in their characters to really pique as the plot unfolds. Seth James and CJ Sensation have supporting roles as hillbilly bar thugs, Bubba and Zeke, and add a touch of comedy relief to the film. Last but not least, the film’s score (scored by Kevin MacLeod) is just enough to add to the atmosphere of the film without overpowering. I will say that it was a pretty bold choice to put an upbeat country pop/rock song in the opening credits particularly with the dark atmosphere we are initially offered at the film’s opening. I feel that many would have wanted to put in something musically darker, but I will say that the song (performed by the band, Ruff Creek) fits beautifully despite the contrasting atmosphere.

I would say that the debut of David Dietz as writer, producer, editor, director, and actor all on the same project is a strong one. My only critiques are that the sound is a bit uneven at times and that the night scenes are a little dark and sometimes difficult to make out. But I will say that overall, Indemnity is very enjoyable (I’ve watched it three times already) and worth checking out. For more information on the film, visit the Indemnity website here, and you can also learn more about the man behind the film at Dietz’s website: http://www.dietzthethird.com