Sometimes when a director who steps behind the camera for his first feature debut the jitters occurs and effect the overall outcome of the movie, and the failure to achieve to success occurs, but not in the case of Andy Lohrenz who also served as writer of Suburbanite. He presents a thriller film with currents of black comedy latter in a rich cinematic design with his characters finding the path to achieve both freedom to flash and growth all for the benefit of the audience. Taking the position of secrets the seemingly perfect nuclear family contains, bending just one cog of a happy household of mother, father, two children and a dog completing the excessive duplicating “McMansions” dotting many new developments, all to expose the delicate psychology of humanity.
First, the production humbles itself by working in the confines of a few locations and limitations of special effects, as it becomes obvious of the smallness budget, but not a hint of cheapness in performance or stylization. Lohrenz implants excellence work of Hitchcock, suggesting scenes, motives, options, yet never overstating, allowing the actors to present the characters with sinister choices. The portion of the plot centers around Mack (Jodie Moore, from Maggie (2015)), hired a contract killer Rick (portrayed exceptionally well by Frank Mosley) to rid himself of his soon-to-be-ex-wife, and has an accidental run-in with average family man John (Joe Nemmers). In lies the agonizingly dilemma of personal salivation versus the unknowingly harm to others, without revealing too much John falls asleep at the wheel and runs down Mack in a surprisingly modest fashion, however adding insult to the injury one believes he’s dead, shockingly no he’s not. This entire portion of the movie revolves the mirrors of their lives and discovering of the harmful actions, a bit of karma playing a hand in the game of life. Mack’s and John’s character truly form a bond, even after secrets become apparent, in different circumstances these two act as drinking buddies. The best attribute of the human psyche shown, Mack wanted his wife killed, while John, struggles to terminate Mack’s existence to safe his family’s lifestyle of prim and properness. Lohrenz, borrows teasing elements from the Master of Suspense, Hitchcock’s Rope, with a moment of two neighborhood children, trespassing in the garage, where Mack lays down bloodied behind the wheel of the car, and John takes the aggressive and hostile position of catching them, Alex and Michael Rodriguez, in their own criminal transgression. There are plenty of glimpses where Joe’s character mirrors Patrick Warburton’s Jeff Bingham from Rules of Engagement, with an agitated state of panic yet playing it very cool. Enter into the equation Rick, a con man, fake assassin, and perhaps a very dirty cop (although the last part suggested) as in the film a sequence a real police officer stumbling upon their blatant and foolish stakeout position, alarms him and his partner Bob (Max Hartman). Frank steals the scenes, a young version a Christian Bale, his mannerisms and delivery fit perfectly into the film, his actions to blackmail in the cleanest and simplest style to both Mack and now John.
This independent feature never relies on the common modernism in filmmaking, rather returning the standards of storytelling, substance of the trueness of the characters, with the strength from the actors. The patience and belief of the tension, and creation of suspense hold the audience’s attention, and again hinting to the old-school shell game of emotional reasonable thought processes that mirror to the viewers mentality “what would you do” conceptual design. The movie is not without flaws, the punchlines struggle, and sadly Bob’s character acts as a fifth wheel, never clearly fleshed out, and more of a silent partner for muscle enforcement.
As with many low-budgeted films, one tries to keep an open mind, and here the concept works amazingly well, and allows one to hope to see more of these actors in future roles, the performances herein wonderfully work and reward not just the movie but the audience will find an exceptional movie to entertain themselves. Lohrenz pays homage with his film to the Hitchcock, and establishes a quality interaction of men falling into fascinating predicaments and found on Midnight Releasing distribution.