Running Time: 80 mins
Reviewer: David Gillespie – Official HCF Artist
With the recent release of the Purge, there seems to be a number of thrillers being released with masked intruders besieging an innocent’s home. Static was made in 2012 and is the directorial debut of Todd Levin. The director goes for a slightly different take on the slice and dice nature of previously released entries to the genre.
After losing their young son, successful writer, Jonathan Dade (Milo Ventimiglia) and Addie Dade (Sarah Shahi) do their best to hold things together while burdened with an overwhelming sense of loss and guilt. Rather than support and comfort each other, their presence only magnifies the hurt and slowly unravels their love for each other. One night they are awoken by a banging on the front door. A frightened young woman called Rachael (Sara Paxton -Innkeepers) asks them for shelter and their help from a group of masked men. The couple are initially a little wary of their uninvited guest and question whether she might be the one that they should be afraid off. Jonathan decides to venture outside their rural home and discovers the young woman’s car a good way down their driveway. The tires have been blown by a spiked contraption on the road. While Jonathan is away, Rachael peppers Addie with personal questions. The grieving mother refrains from giving away too much information to the stranger. When Jonathan arrives back, Rachael begins to question him as to the whereabouts of his son. Addie listens in from behind a door. To her astonishment, her husband opens up to the pretty blonde and later lambasts him for doing so. Just when the couple are on the brink of throwing the blonde out, the power is cut and a group of masked assailants drag Rachael from the home. The couple board up their home as a group of mysterious figures surround the house and attempt to break their way in.
One of the most common failures in modern horror films is the ability to emphasise with the main characters or victims. It is testament to the director and the very fine acting that there are no such worries with Static. The opening quarter is a heart-breaking drama with superb performances from the two leads. You sympathize with Jonathan and Addie’s predicament within the first 5 minutes and this is of paramount importance as to what is to transpire later in the story. The score is wonderful too and matches the mood perfectly. The second act focusing on the introduction of the mysterious Rachael is also handled extremely well. The sombre mood completely changes with Paxton delivering a sinister turn as a character that both the couple and the viewer are not entirely sure whether they trust or not. Unfortunately things take a turn for the worst when the protagonists appear on the scene. The movie then disintegrates into long lingering shots of Jonathan and Addie creeping around their property waiting for someone to jump out on them. To say anymore would undoubtedly destroy the tale’s ‘shocking’ twist which does deliver but not in the way that you might expect from the marketing on the movie’s poster and DVD box.
Static has very little onscreen violence but it well shot and does create enough atmosphere to keep the viewer interested throughout. To his credit Todd Levin takes time to properly introduce his characters and delivers something with a little more substance than your usual ‘intruders attacking family home’ plot. As a very irritating British magician once said, ‘You’ll like it, but not a lot’. Unfortunately Static does not have enough magic moments.