Static (UK DVD)
Directed by Todd Levin
Distributed by Second Sight Films
First-time feature director Todd Levin dares to be different with his pleasantly surprising take on the home invasion shocker, the melancholic Static. Starring Milo Ventimiglia of TV's "Heroes" fame, Static follows recently bereaved couple Jonathan and Addie Dade (Ventimiglia and Shahi, respectively), who find themselves thrust into a night of terror when a young woman named Rachel (Paxton) shows up on their doorstep in the middle of the night seeking help.
Seems she's a local who has experienced car trouble after being confronted by a group of individuals wearing gas masks and had to head for the nearest house for assistance. With the Dades' own relationship already proving rocky in the aftermath of their three-year-old son's death, Jonathan's eagerness to help the young lady, coupled with his wife's suspicions of her, serves to add fuel to an already inflamed situation. Shortly after the Dades agree to let Rachel spend the night at their home, events reach a tipping point as a monitoring device is discovered and a group of individuals clad in hoodies and masks forcibly abduct the girl, launching the remaining horrified couple into a fight for their lives.
Director Levin keeps things moving slowly in Static, with a persistent level of mystery behind the entire affair that sees question after question arise as to just what these mysterious assailants may want with the Dades. The ultimate fate of the couple is apparent from the opening sequence, but just how and why we get there remains a consistently gripping, and suspenseful, concern. This is a double-edged sword, however, as Levin's determination to reveal the machinations behind his tale as slowly as possible is likely to leave a number of viewers feeling rather listless. As the night continues, the sombre tone of Static really takes over -- what begins as a quiet affair in terms of dialogue delivery and performances becomes similarly morose in the visual elements with many scenes taking place in almost pitch black conditions. This is certainly not a bad thing, though the slow pace definitely makes the film feel longer than its rather brief running time, but those looking for a quickened pulse, graphic violence or thrill-a-minute action would do well to stay far away from this one. In the end, Static ends up being all about emotion -- fear and otherwise.
In terms of performances, leads Ventimiglia and Shahi seem right at home with Levin's desired representation of a couple almost completely torn apart by grief -- the events of the evening gradually forcing them to face both guilt and forgiveness that otherwise would simply have remained an insurmountable emotional impasse between them. Fellow lead Paxton isn't offered much to do besides seeming like a slightly out of place piece of this puzzle; however, the revelations offered in the final scenes open the shades on some pleasing nuances to her performance that lend a somewhat cursed weight to her character.
The ending is of course where Static comes together, but to reveal just about anything here or make comparisons would serve only to give the game away. Ultimately, it's a daring and original take on an increasingly tired formula unfortunately hamstrung by ill-balanced sentimentality. While Static reaches the finish line hobbled by wearing its heart too proudly on its sleeve, it admittedly only does so due to sheer confidence in the fact that it legitimately has one -- and that is something to be commended. Of special note is Tim Ziesmer's minimalist score that deftly adds weight to the emotion on screen.
Second Sight's UK DVD release of Static arrives bare bones, bereft of special features.
3-1/2 out of 5
0 out of 5