Do Not Disturb (DVD)
Directed by BC Furtney
Distributed by Image Entertainment
There are three things that are going to make you want to check out Do Not Disturb when you happen to notice it in this week’s online carousel of new releases: Stephen Geoffreys, Tiffany Shepis, and Corey Haim. Regardless of the plot or the film’s director (BC Fortney, who does have some controversial horror shorts under his belt), there’s only one movie featuring this particular horror trifecta, and it will definitely stand out on the digital shelves even though the cover art isn’t particularly eye-catching.
If you want to watch the latest release featuring your most recent horror crush - a diligent actress who has become this decade’s go-to girl for low budget horror - then Tiffany Shepis is your reason to tune in. If you’re a child of the ‘80s remembering your first crush, then, by all means, tune in because this is one of Corey Haim’s last performances - a head scratcher considering the troubled actor passed away in 2010. Then there’s Stephen Geoffreys, who, regardless of whether you fondly remember Fright Night (yes, the original) or had fun with Robert Englund’s directorial debut, 976-Evil, is actually the real reason to watch.
Originally titled New Terminal Hotel, Do Not Disturb follows the downward spiral of failed screenwriter Don Malek (Geoffreys) as he wastes away on Skid Row deep in the underbelly of a seedy L.A. - a side of Los Angeles that’s rarely seen now that the Golden State has officially cleaned up its act onscreen. Desperate and vengeful, Malek subjects a former studio head to an unspeakable fate that his agent (Shepis), desperate for a hit, views as some sort of elaborate pitch for a new hit screenplay. This initial setup winds up involving the other miscreants in the Hotel (and neighboring bar) until Malek becomes completely unhinged, taking others down with him.
This is a low budget film noir that’s light on gore and tension; yet, it has still been stamped with the horror seal of approval largely because of its cast. But because of its claustrophobic atmosphere and unapologetic dedication to the darker side of Los Angeles, in setting and tone, Do Not Disturb turns out to be surprisingly watchable.
As stated before, Stephen Geoffreys is the clear standout here. Having just picked up his career again over the last few years, Geoffreys makes the transition from squeaky teen to brooding adult with an awkward ease. Well aware of the cinematic watermark showing the quality level his stature currently affords him, Geoffreys knows exactly what kind of film he’s in and never acts above it. He’s perfectly contained, performing within the confines of the script as he goes mad (quite convincingly) within the confines of his roach-infested room. Surprisingly, Don Malek is Geoffrey’s first adult lead, and the effort and dedication he shows is infectious and quite endearing. Almost channeling an unhinged Michael J. Fox in certain scenes, his performance is the centerpiece of Do Not Disturb, and BC Furtney and company did well to cast him in the role.
Corey Haim has always wanted to play a character named Jasper, reportedly, and the always lovable, never quite together actor finally gets his wish as a failed rocker turned barfly named Jasper Crash. He dons a fake British accent to sound more important, and his part feels like a cameo expanded to a role that’s supposed to feel more important but really has nowhere to go and nothing to do. Still, seeing Haim and Geoffreys in the same shot, however brief, is a welcome sight to middle-aged movie watchers who fondly remember both actors (myself included). Tiffany Shepis also turns in another performance showing plenty of attitude and a little bit of crazy - a pedigree she has down pat at this point in her career, the reason why she continues to get steady work in this tier of the genre. Ezra Buzzington as a foul-mouthed, whoring cripple who drinks too much is also a presence alongside Geoffreys, reminding us why he came a short hair away from becoming the next Freddy Krueger in the remake of A Nightmare On Elm Street - a part he was actively pursuing during the filming of Do Not Disturb.
The dirty label of Direct-to-DVD - a surefire clue to a film of lower stature and quality - has largely been done away with now that the new media model of Video On Demand has taken hold, but with Do Not Disturb that term still can be used to aptly describe the kind of movie you should expect. In other words, curb your expectations, but don’t ignore it simply because it’s not on 3,000 screens. The performances of Geoffreys and Buzzington being notable and the noir flourishes and pulp sensibility of Do Not Disturb’s director BC Furtney make this just worth picking up. It’s taken this long for it to make it into your living room, so there’s really no reason to wait any longer to watch if you’re a fan of these actors. I know I am.
2 1/2 out of 5
0 out of 5