February 2, 2008

What Hides In Life Is Found In Death

Posted in Horror, Movies, Sci-Fi, Thriller at 7:47 am by inflickted

Deaths of Ian StoneI admire film makers who have great ambition and take the risk of creating a piece of work which embodies their ideas despite having a small budget. Many have succeeded but still many fail to realize their target. But still you can’t help but give them props for trying and working hard in achieving a great movie.

This review shall also be about an ambitious idea that had a small budget. It has been considered as one of the most anticipated movies in the last year’s “8 films to die for” at the After Dark Horrorfest. The title of the movie itself holds so much promise, but can the movie itself hold up to the public’s expectations? This is the review for The Deaths Of Ian Stone.

The movie itself reminds you of so many other movies. The story revolves around a young man who gets killed everyday. Every time he dies he wakes up to a different life than what he had previously. The film is considered a horror version of Groundhog Day which resembles the idea behind Dark City. The protagonist experiences death in different ways, Final Destination is it? It talks about alternate realities and made up worlds and lives, I wonder where Neo (The Matrix) is. The antagonists (harvesters) feeds on the fears of humans, do they work at Monster’s Inc.? From the original feel of a horror film it becomes twisted into nothing more than a long episode of X-files meets the twilight zone.

The title tells a lot about what you can expect from this film but it does so in very fast paced and exciting ways. Cinematography is excellent and is used in full effect to maximize the experience. Director Dario Piana keeps the film moving at a clean, tightly-wound pace. For the limited production resources, the film had truly inventive prosthetics and special effects (the effects for the harvesters would put the Dementors in Harry Potter to shame). However, the director never relies on props to propel to action. Ian Stone maintains a violent and energetic spirit, seldom making for a dull moment. What director Dario Piana cannot hide is a script by Brendan Hood that isn’t half as ambitious as it wants to be. I mean the last line (freaking one-liner) “What’s the matter, scared?” is so predictable and so clichéd that it’s irritating.

Mike Vogel who plays Ian Stone delivers a strong performance. Vogel has had a knack for acting in horror movies (he’s appeared in Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Cloverfield and soon in Open Graves). His talents surpass the genre; he’s one of the more underrated actors in his age range. He is able to play a character who is both completely clueless yet pissed off at the same time. The further he gets into the mystery of the Harvesters the more damaged yet combative he becomes. The other characters however are another story. The women are mostly one dimensional and their range is nonexistent.

The first part of the movie was engrossing, spooky and intriguing. The second part started to falter and became uninteresting due to the numerous plot-holes and unclear resolutions. The ideas and its distinctive concept would have been profound if developed properly.

As a horror genre, the film is lacking. As a sci-fi thriller it is passable and can be superb if executed better (specifically the narration). Ian Stone’s deaths could have been more creative rather than have him killed by the antagonists personally. The lines too could have benefited with some wit. It’s an extremely ambitious project (which receives props) that in the end fails to deliver the “edge” it so promises. It would fail most likely in the box office and should have just been given a TV or DVD release where it could have a fighting chance.


It gets an unsatisfying 2.3 out of 5 or 46% infectious


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