Reviewed by Johnny Butane
Starring Arielle Kebbel, Sarah Carter, Stephen Dillane, MyAnna Buring, Andrew Lee Potts
Directed by Paddy Breathnach
Released by Anchor Bay Entertainment
Though I still have not seen Shrooms, Breathnach’s first film, I had some high hopes going into Red Mist that it could rise above the usual direct-to-DVD drivel and really stand out as its own beast. Instead I got a standard thriller that you’d see in any multiplex on a Saturday afternoon, just with more gore.
The plot follows some incredibly good looking pre-med students who decide to have a little fun with a young man named Kenneth who works at the same hospital they do, only he cleans the floors. When he’s not spying on them with his camera phone, that is. It’s more than obvious that he’s suffering from some sort of retardation, and he’s got a huge crush on sweet Catherine (Kebbel). She’s the only one who doesn’t treat him like something they scraped off their shoes, so of course he follows her around.
But he’s not a sweet and innocent boy; he’s got some serious perversions and kinks, or at least that’s the implication. When he shows up after hours at a bar the group is killing vital brain cells in, they decides to make Kenneth, or Freakdog as they so affectionately refer to him, one of their own…by pouring vodka and drugs down his throat. And these are people going to school to be doctors.
Of course Kenneth almost dies, and the group decides the only rational course of action (i.e., the one that won’t ruin their rapidly dimming futures) is to just drop him off at the ER and drive away. Kenneth goes into a comma and only good-hearted, guilt-ridden Katherine is willing to do anything about it. After some frantic, action-packed research (seriously, is there anything that slows a film down faster than research scenes?), she finds out about some untested wonder drug that’s supposed to snap coma victims back in no time.
He snaps all right, but not in the way she’d hoped. After almost dying and being brought back from flatline, Kenneth is able to jump into any body he chooses to enact his ironic revenge on those who wronged him. This part of the premise I dug a lot, actually; it just took too damn long to get there.
What follows is a series of revelations as Katherine comes closer and closer to understanding what’s really happening, why people have no memory of doing anything bad after those who taunted Kenneth are brutally killed (the acid via funnel is the most interesting, though oddly the least gory), and how Kenneth could possibly be causing it all from his hospital bed. Needless to say, she soon wishes she hadn’t been so nice to him.
Once the action picks up, Red Mist earns back some points lost by spending too much time developing characters that you can never really bring yourself to care about anyway. However, even when the slaughter begins, Breathnach finds a way to slow things down from time to time for no reason, such as when the pretty blond girl starts cutting herself in a bar and not a soul thinks to actually try and help her. This scene goes on forever it seems, and while the eventual payoff is good, it’s a prime example of why Red Mist falls short of being anything special.
As for the features, you get a 20-minute “making of” that consists of the director and cast (save the kid who played Kenneth, oddly) discussing their roles and what it was like to shoot the film, an extended (9 minutes to be exact) interview with star Arielle Kebbel, and a quick featurette consisting mainly of aerial shots of Ireland (where the film was made) with occasional thoughts from the cast on shooting there.
Red Mist is a good rental if nothing else jumps out at you, but don’t go out of your way for it. Aside from some good-looking kids and the occasional interesting death, there’s just not a helluva lot to recommend here.
2 1/2 out of 5
1 1/2 out of 5
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