Consumption (UK DVD)


Consumption posterStarring Sarah Greyson, Arielle Brachfeld, David Lautman, Chris Dorman, Myles Cranford

Directed by Brandon Scullion

Distributed by Left Films

Previously known as Live-In Fear, director Brandon Scullion’s Consumption sees a group of young friends head off to a snowy mountain retreat, only to find themselves hunted by an ancient evil that resides there.

Amongst these folks is Seth, who is secretly reeling from the recent death of his mother. Well… ‘reeling’ isn’t quite the correct word, considering he has actually murdered her, chopped her body into pieces and is looking for some time away from the main group so he can bury said body parts in the snow-laden environs.

Things don’t exactly go to plan, however, when members of the group begin to meet their end at the hands of what appears to be a local cult – only to later reappear, seemingly under the control of a supernatural evil. Worse still, Seth’s very much alive mother also shows up to introduce herself and assert her strange will on her bewildered son.

So far so good, as far as the basic narrative goes. We have the unwary victims, an ancient evil, a shady cult, possession and eerie returns from death… and even the crazy-looking axe-wielding local who tries to warn these meddling kids away from the situation.

Unfortunately, however, Scullion fails to make the most of his ambitions and it leads to almost constant frustration throughout. Consumption’s characters are well rounded – they’re vulnerable, and each carrying demons and relationship issues that sooner or later they’re going to have to face. The cast pull off their roles well, especially Arielle Brachfeld with her impressive display of range – for the most part, anyway.

Because when the horror ramps up, possessions are in full swing and the dead are walking, Scullion insists on his cast behaving and conversing in some of the most morose monotones you’re ever likely to hear. The assumption here is that in aiming for sincere, classical horror, Scullion wishes to shy away from quirk, over-reactions or melodrama – driving home the distinctly unconcerned-with-human-affairs power of his esoteric antagonist – but the result is much too far into the opposite end of the scale.

Flat dialogue delivered with lifeless intonation blends into the incessantly droning score to snooze-inducing effect, failing to engage with the sense of isolation – physical and emotional – that this particular story holds at its core. It almost literally keeps it trapped in ice.

Coupled with the coloured and psychedelic transitions between scenes, Consumption’s later sections become quite an effective tool for combating insomnia. Instead of enhancing the fear, it stifles it and forces a plodding trek toward a climax completely devoid of energy. Everything just feels so stiff – as cold and unwelcoming a chore as plodding through the miles of thick snow that surround the film’s setting.

Left Films brings Consumption to UK DVD (pre-order here) sporting a trailer selection, around 10 minutes of behind-the-scenes material with narration by director Brandon Scullion, and a feature commentary with the director also. The commentary itself is evidence of Scullion’s heady ambitions and influences – which do occasionally shine through in the film – and he isn’t afraid to point out a few goofs along the way. Sadly, ambition alone does not a good film make, and Consumption doesn’t come together as a satisfying slice of horror.

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User Rating 2.93 (15 votes)


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