Starring Bill Oberst, Jr., Mikhail Blokh, Lise Hart, Cindy Merrill
Directed by Gregory Blair
Distributed by SGL Entertainment
A Toyota Prius amongst Lamborghinis, a poodle amongst pit bulls, a creepy guy hanging out in the women’s lingerie section… OK, that last one may have been a bit uncomfortable to envision, but the comparison I’m trying to make here is what out of each of the three examples doesn’t fit? Much like his performances in the past that have personified the evil, craggish looking guy you would most likely avoid in the street late at night, Bill Oberst, Jr.’s performance in Deadly Revisions just doesn’t seem to fit in with his prior depictions of on-screen personalities.
Not that there is anything wrong with branching out towards another side of the delicate human psyche, but when you consistently knock the looney-tune exhibition out of the park, it certainly comes off as a stunner to see that same person pull a 180-degree turn in their next film, and that’s what we have here. Oberst plays Grafton Torn, a successful horror writer who has suffered a debilitating fall down the stairs at his own home, and after awaking from a coma, he has no recollection of how it happened. His pal Deter (Mikhail Blokh) happily offers up his own secluded cabin in the woods so that Grafton may convalesce and hopefully gain back some memory of what went down (besides himself). A beautiful hypnotherapist by the name of Dr. Ally Morris is assigned to assist Grafton with sessions that will help him gain some semblance of order in his mind… yeah, this is going to be bad.
Grafton begins to suffer delusions while in therapy and at night alone – he has become so paralyzed with these nightmarish images that even the simplest task of sitting down and cranking out a few chapters for his latest book are a dead-end. All of the traumatic stress that has been inflicted upon himself is only compounded by the fact that before his fall, his marriage to a very displeased spouse (Lise Hart) was headed for divorce. As the horrific images keep resurfacing, his hypnotherapy sessions are gradually bringing out more memories of his spiraling relationship with his wife, and as the tail end of the movie trudges on, we’re twisted and turned in ways that will have your skull on a swivel. While the payoff doesn’t exactly ring memorable in the annals of psychological horror fame, it is a nice spin that is a welcome end to a VERY slow burn of a film.
Now the downsides – if you’re looking to be scared, you’ll probably be disappointed as the movie relies on the nightmarish images a little too much to try to scare the audience – demon dolls, deer in the backyard with red eyes, and nooses seem oddly placed and didn’t give me the chill down my spine that I’d hoped for. Also, some of the performances can be labeled as “stagnant.” Unfortunately, Oberst, Jr. (whom I love as a lunatic, by the way), seems lost in a role that completely sheds his crazy-guy film image and replaces it with the actions of a man who’s been reduced to a mousy, frightened soul. Not that he’s incapable of pulling off a role such as this, but it just wasn’t the same ol’ Bill that I’m accustomed to… ah well, you’ve got to adapt in order to progress.
In any event, director Gregory Blair gives thinking-man’s thriller fans something to chew on with Deadly Revision, but it’s just too bad that there needs to be a few large edits in store before the final product can be considered a bestseller.