Familiar (2012)

Description (from the IMDb):
Through a series of tragic events, a middle aged man grows to suspect the negative impulses plaguing his mind may not be his own.

Major Cast:
Robert Nolan as John Dodd, Astrida Auza as Charlotte Dodd, Cathryn Hostick as Jordan Dodd

Special Features:
None (Online Screener)

Written by and Directed by Richard Powell

“Twist” movies are a dime a dozen these days. After THE SIXTH SENSE did the twist so well, it seems every third movie I watch has some sort of a twist to it. I know THE SIXTH SENSE wasn’t the first film to have that sort of subterfuge employed – far, far, FAR from the first – but it just seems that since then the twist has become a much more common occurrence. Unfortunately, the more something is done, more often something is not done well; the more often it becomes commonplace. And the more the twist is done, the harder it is to make it seem original and fresh, and to make it have that sort of emotional impact that it used to have. All of this makes the twist, when done well, seem all the more awesome.

It is never good when the ingredients of your tea include “random pharmaceuticals”

I thought I had FAMILIAR figured out from the first minute or so. This was going to be a little horror flick about suburbia gone wrong, mid-life crisis taken to the extreme. John is tired of being a Dad, tired of being s husband, tired of being the bread-winner, and just plain tired. Somewhere along the way he has gone a little off the deep end, and has created himself an alter ego, a persona that can do all the things that John really wants to do. Any time now, he’s obviously going to snap, and shuck his responsibilities one way or another. Or so I thought. I don’t want to give away the twist, because that would be a really douchebag thing to do. What I am going to tell you is that I did not see what was coming, and when it appeared FAMILIAR went from a little creepy to full-on horror. Nicely.

All work and no play makes John Dodd something something…

FAMILIAR is a very well made short flick; the production values are very high all around. The video is beautifully crisp HD, and the camera is skillfully operated. There are no super-exciting or completely new shots or anything, but the camera movements are very smooth and the composition presented is very ocularly pleasing, even when the images shown are quite abhorrent. Adding to the quality of the video was the lighting, which is hardly noticeable – as it should be. Everything was well lit, even the dark scenes, which means the lights were doing the job without drawing attention, which is what they should do. Also of note was the well-above average audio; the dialogue is crisp, the sound effects are strong, and the music works. The special effects are also quite adept; the gore is sickening and the creature is disturbing.

It’s not a tumah!!! But, it probably would be better if it was.

The film itself is well written, and the words on the page are executed commendably. Nolan has a talent for making the audience believe his emotion through a very small facial tic or change. Auza and Hostick are also strong in their performances, but FAMILIAR is pretty much all Nolan. His performance as Dodd is the backbone of the film, and that weight is carried stupendously.

Overall I really enjoyed FAMILIAR. It did a good job of taking a slow-burn thriller type of film into a full-on sickening horror, and getting from point a to point b was accomplished with a turn in the road I did not anticipate. FAMILIAR is not high art, nor is it powerful social satire; FAMILIAR is a sick and twisted fantasy of a horror film, and all the stronger for not trying to do too much. What it did in its 23 minutes it did really well, and it makes me anticipate the day that Powell makes a feature that can expand the feeling presented in this short.


Overall 7.5 / 10

FAMILIAR on the IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2095640/

FAMILIAR is not for sale.

FAMILIAR site: http://fatalpictures.wordpress.com/

Familiar (2012)

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