RECOVERY (2016)

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Directed by:
Written by: ,
Starring: , , ,

Available now Amazon Video

It’s usually a bad idea when films show a lot of current technology, whether it’s pages from internet or the latest devices. I could do without people discussing Twitter regardless of the genre, it’s usually a sure fire way of dating a story quickly as well as adding the distraction of real life brands. Product placement is one thing, actively focusing on it is something else. Here the title suggests a plot element about psychological trauma or physical injuries. Instead they’re referring to data recovery – on a smart phone. In the right hands this could the basis for a story about self absorbed characters losing their identities by being hooked into the internet twenty-four hours a day. A little satire goes along way. However I’m afraid that this is merely window dressing.

In reality this is just another film about crazy people kidnapping teens to bring them into ‘the family.’ The opening minute or so is the best part of the whole thing, as the villains getting ready for their son to have a date with a girl. A girl who is locked in a chest in their basement. It feels quite different from the atmosphere of the rest of the film, adding a little mystery before any sudden violence comes along. Unfortunately this is also the only segment which has any suspense or pacing. It’s all erased as loud club music thrusts us into a credits sequence designed around social media, complete with selfie photos and chat emojis. The effect is incredibly jarring, as one tone is suddenly replaced by another.

Jessie (Kirby Blanton) is at an end of term party where she spots her boyfriend making out with another girl. In her anger she heads home with her new friend Kim (Rachel DiPillo). But as a result of this failed romance they then decide to go for one last night of fun before school is out. The film spends a lot of time on this teen melodrama for some reason. Photos of the night are shared online and a new guy being picked up on a dating app just a few hours later. Jessie’s brother pressures them into taking him along, since their parents think she’s going to see a movie. Soon enough this roster of potential slasher victims is complete, for what it’s worth.

The basic setup feels as though it will be able to deliver at least a few macabre thrills inside the first act. But the story drags so much that it starts to feel as if nothing will actually happen at all. A masked stalker following Jessie hangs out at a distance, and all the club scenes go on for way too long. So much time is devoted to these characters just being vain twerps. They make childish posts to their social media profiles, and they make inane chit chat. Which is hardly endearing stuff. When things do begin to heat up it’s not because of a sudden explosion of violence but that Kim has vanished with Jessie’s new phone. Here it becomes apparent that this will become the major reason for things to go awry. Lost property.

Things become even less gripping, if it was even possible, as the cast drive around using GPS software to search the bad side of town. And instead of being concerned for Kim they only seem to care about the missing phone. It takes them over thirty minutes to reach the spooky house where the antagonist and his family are hiding out. Then from here it really stalls as they break into the property and… just wander around. The whole burglary lacks any urgency or a sinister atmosphere. Which is odd considering they don’t know if the place is empty or not. This isn’t a good plan, but then this is not a story which involves a lot of rational behaviour.

When the killers eventually make an appearance there are a lot of chase scenes and strobe lighting. The idea of a disfigured villain is nothing new, but they could have done more with the idea instead of saving it up for a very brief couple of shots near the end where the budget ran out. Later on a few deaths do actually occur, but neither group wants to behave in a way that makes much sense. The bad guys leave their weapons lying around, while the victims make some pretty feeble attempts to escape. They keep splitting up and running through the same hallways which again keeps the pace from ever really picking up. For a while it seems as though they will just be caught and arrested for breaking and entering considering the lack of reveals.

It’s so uneventful outside of the last few minutes. There are some inevitable plot twists and a few interesting ideas, but it’s pretty derivative and the execution is very lacklustre. The production values are not all terrible, and it looks fine in general with a graded colour pallet. A few moments are even visually appealing at times. The soundtrack also has a few standard electronic tunes that work well. But the film that these elements are hanging from is just too boring for it to have any lasting effect. Any reasonable performances and brief glimpses of creativity are just wasted. The eerie feeling of the intro scene is something that never comes back around. In the end you can find all this and more elsewhere, in films that are actually engaging.

Rating: ★★☆☆☆☆☆☆☆☆

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About Mocata 144 Articles
A sucker for classic epics, 80s science fiction and fantasy kitsch, horror, action, animation, stop motion, world cinema, martial arts and all kinds of assorted stuff and nonsense. If you enjoy a bullet ballet, a good eye ball gag or a story about time travelling robots maybe we can be friends after all.

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