Review: Spooky Sean
You pop in this flick, and the first minute a heavily bearded, scraggly-haired fella shouts towards you with a gun in his hand. Bang, bang! And you think to yourself, damn, this is going to be intense. And then, the rest of the film plays. You get about a half hour of trouble in paradise, a marriage on the rocks, and a young boy caught in the cross fire. And then, the hubby and his wife go to the newly purchased abandoned warehouse he’s bought. They fight, until a mysterious, greasy-haired sketcher appears to chase them. Yes, it’s our scraggly friend from the first few minutes, back to shed some light on his purpose in the film perhaps?
Last Breath began with a lot of potential, which is why it’s such a shame it wasn’t better. An incredibly frenetic performance by Aaron Laue as Dark Figure in its opening minutes sets a pace and ferocity which the rest of the film can’t seem to match. We presented a mixed romantic drama and torture film (some would call it torture porn, but that’s snuff films then, isn’t it?) that oversteps its bounds attempting genre comingling, and manages to merely muddle both.
One major problem has to do with its twist ending. I won’t tell you the twist and take no pride in ruining film endings, but suffice it to say it’s quite silly. It requires a huge leap of faith on the part of the viewer, and while it explains some of the earlier scenes, what is meant to add gravitas to the flick merely makes it seem that much more absurd.
While the performances are adequate in regards to the torture horror aspect from Ty Jones as Michael Johnson, and Mandy Bannon as Tina Johnson, the romance is harder to buy. A lot of the film revolves around the power of Michael and Tina’s love for each other. Except we never really believe said powerful, overwhelming love. Part of this blame surely falls on the script. If we were privy to a few scenes of the couple while they were deeply in love, instead of simply seeing the tail end of their relationship, perhaps the passion would be more evident. I’m just not buying that either of these people would work very hard to save the other if they were set on fire, and merely had to pee their partner out. Not that that’s a scene in the film, though it would have made for exciting viewing.
The score gets positively Full Moon pictures at times. Vincent Gillioz, sorry, but your score is all over the place. It’s a fun score, quite bouncy at times, but it doesn’t quite seem to fit with scenes of a machine that electrocutes boners. But then, what would?
There is interesting framing in many of the shots. A lot of cool shots of our couple, framed between broken windows. However, any time a rat hopped on screen, it was all but assured an unconvincing scene of rat attack was to commence. It’s tough to fear rats, even a bunch of rats, when they are obviously nowhere near your actor. One shot, rats on ground, next shot, they are magically on her back! Oh no, those rats, which don’t seem to care about that woman in the slightest, are terrorizing her! I guess…
Last Breath is far from a terrible film. It has its tense moments, its creative torture scenarios, and despite how silly it is, the twist ending is hard to guess, and something new for a horror film. Much like a noose too long, the problem comes down to the execution. Despite all of the good things it brings, in the end I wondered, why should I care about these two people? They all but ignore their child (seriously, one big plot hole, who was watching their kid while they were in the warehouse for all those hours?) and they don’t seem to enjoy each other’s company any more.
How many more torture scenarios because of a perceived wrongdoing do I have to sit through in a horror film? Can people just kill each other just to do it again? Not that many films ever allow this type of blissful lack of reasoning. How many thousands of people are murdered in horror films because of silly perceived slights? You let me drown because you were necking, I’m dying of cancer, and you don’t appreciate your life, and now, you were cheating, so now I electrocute your willie.
Honestly, most of what I took from this film is that it wouldn’t be fun to have your penis electrocuted.
I don’t think I needed a visual reiteration of that.
(Sean lives a quiet life, with a world of darkness locked away inside his fevered mind. He grew up in Central Massachusetts. In his free time he writes for his blog www.spookysean.com, and creates fiction your parents wouldn’t approve of.)