Memory (DVD)



Memory DVD (click for larger image)Starring Billy Zane, Ann-Margret, Dennis Hopper, Tricia Helfer

Directed by Bennett Joshua Davlin

Distributed by Echo Bridge Home Entertainment


Wealthy and handsome medical researcher Taylor Briggs has recently come into contact with a substance that allows him to see into the past of one of his family members. Too bad that member of his bloodline was a child murdering bastard who had a fetish for wearing doll masks and running around in the woods. With this mystery on his mind, Taylor sets out to find who is behind the mask and if a recent rash of kidnappings is connected in some way.

Memory is your typical thriller with a gimmick thrown in to make it seem less plain. All the elements of your standard mystery are there including a glaringly bogus red herring and an ultimate showdown with a twist even M. Night would be shaking his head at. Memory is well put together and shot on a level just above other direct-to-DVD fare; yet, it cannot escape a number of problems that should have been easily solved.

Dennis Hopper is drastically wasted in this film. It is such an oddity to see him just sit around and be depressing without the slightest amount of energy anywhere to be found. It could be that he was miscast. When did anyone think, "Boy, I think Hopper would be perfect as a retired doctor who sits around, drinks beer, and has trouble figuring out which remote to use!" At least he isn't dying the same on screen death that Eddie Murphy is right now. Dennis still has talent; it just has to be put to use with the right people.

Memory DVD (click for larger image)On a similar note, when was the last time Billy Zane was cast in a decent leading role? He has talent somewhere, but he lost the key to the cabinet he locked it away in years ago. Zane does what he can as the doctor turned psychic investigator, but even he cannot escape the stench of old thriller leftovers that have been sitting out on the shelf too long.

Every movie should know exactly what it is. Memory doesn't have that luxury as it switches back and forth from a family drama to thriller at an unsteady rate. One moment Taylor is on the trail of the masked child killer, and the next he is trying to woo Number Six from Battlestar Galactica while getting teary-eyed about his mother's vegetative state. The inconsistent feel of the film could have been overcome if the ending and final reveal of the killer's identity had not been so overblown and cartoony. After further thought Memory wasn't all that great of a thriller either even if it hadn't ended in such an over-the-top manner.

Come to think of it, there are a number of things that don't make sense. If the police knew a recently kidnapped girl had a computer in her room, would not the cops take that into evidence and search it? Online predators are a major problem in America, and her fucking computer still had her buddy list up and operating. Did this huge piece of the puzzle just go unnoticed? In this reality children are never abducted by people over the Net. To even suggest such a thing would probably be reason for you to be committed to the local looney bin.

Memory DVD (click for larger image)The killer almost gives away his/her alter ego early on in the film with several knowing looks and a very evil hairdo. Some thrill fans may want to sit through this film at least once so I won't spoil things, but about 3/4 of the way through Memory there are a couple things that don't make sense. Trying not to give too much away, it has to do with someone setting up the person they love very much with the murder of a character that didn't matter much to the story. Why this person would try to frame a loved one made little sense. It was not necessary, but then again neither did many of the things revealed during the film's conclusion.

There are many more aspects of Memory that could be looked into as being bad decisions on the filmmakers' part, but nearly all of them would spoil the story. Part of me wants to tell you, but another part thinks it is at least worth a rental. Ah! I hate it when movies toy with me so!

If special features are the deciding factor in a rental or purchase of Memory, there's some good news coming. The commentary track is what you would expect from the filmmakers. They give you plenty of information that will be relatively interesting if you can sit through Memory a second time. It is better than nothing. The making-of and interviews are just more of the same you hear in the commentary but without having to sit through a really grainy and blurry video. For a film that went unnoticed for this long, I am impressed that it even got one special feature, let alone three.

Memory is a good effort. With a little more planning and actually learning from previous mistakes, the team that brought us this flick could break the long streak of nasty direct-to-DVD films we've seen over the past year. Save us from Ulli Lommel! Please!

Special Features
The Making of Memory featurette
Director and writer commentary
Cast and crew interviews

Film:

2 1/2 out of 5

Special Features:

3 1/2 out of 5

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