Thursday, April 28, 2016

In short: Pod (2015)

When his brother Martin (Brian Morvant) leaves his physician brother Ed (Dean Cates) a disturbed sounding and more than just a little disquieting message on his answer phone, Ed grabs their estranged alcoholic sister Lyla (Lauren Ashley Carter) and drives off to the cabin in the middle of nowhere where Martin lives to stage a neat little family intervention.

Martin, you see, has been having psychological problems ever since he left the army, perhaps based on what may or may not have happened to him in one of the last US wars. His last institutionalization was on Ed’s head, though he isn’t quite convinced anymore that was the right idea to help Martin get better. Or rather, he isn’t until Lyla and he arrive at Martin’s cabin. There, Martin doesn’t just threaten them with a rifle for a bit but also starts off on an insane, long, and very loud rant about the experiments the government did on him, the “pods” they created as horrible weapons, how he found one of these pods in the woods – or maybe it found him - and how how he has now locked it away in his cellar. From here on out, things escalate rather quickly, for as insane as Martin sounds, he really has something rather monstrous locked away down there and the government – as represented by yet another Larry Fessenden cameo – truly is somehow involved.

Sure sure sure, yes yes yes, Mickey Keating’s indie horror exercise in conspiracy theories and mad screeching is not the most original of films, and it’s true, it can be a somewhat annoying film thanks to its insistence on ever-increasing loudness and cheap shock effects.

However, watching Pod, I found myself mostly enjoying it, the shameless and unapologetic way it mixes alien conspiracy theories’ greatest hits, its clear disinterest in being tasteful when that means giving up on having fun or diluting the pure power of SCREAMING LOUDLY IN YOUR FACE for at least two thirds of its running time. And while that might sound pretty dumb, this isn’t a dumb film at all – at least, the way it plays with its clichés feels rather clever to me, playful without becoming lamely ironic.

Obviously, this sort of film needs acting dialled up to eleven, and that’s exactly what the small cast provides for your eighty minutes of dysfunctionality. Particularly Morvant gives his all in what might not be the most authentic portrayal of somebody suffering a psychotic break but certainly is an effective – and very loud – one, leaving no head un-pounded and no eardrum still.

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