Miscellaneous Reviews Festivals Lists Interviews

web analytics

Phase 4 Films' May '11 Releases

Brotherhood (May 14/11)

Directed by Will Canon, Brotherhood details the chaos that ensues after a fraternity prank goes horribly awry - with the film subsequently detailing the characters' ongoing efforts at fixing the problem. There's little doubt that Brotherhood gets off to a fantastic start, as Canon opens the proceedings with a striking, inherently engrossing stretch revolving around the aforementioned prank. It's an inventive and surprisingly gripping sequence that unfortunately stands as the movie's high point, as Canon, along with cowriter Douglas Simon, immediately moves the action to a generic fraternity house that seems overrun by impossibly sketchy sleazebags (eg in an early scene, an overweight girl is humiliated by several of the house's residents). It does, as a result, become more and more difficult to work up any sympathy for the characters' increasingly perilous situation, with Canon's continuing efforts at ratcheting up the suspense generally (and consistently) falling flat - with the filmmaker's needless use of shaky camerawork exacerbated by the actors' penchant for screaming the majority of their overwrought dialogue. (Jon Foster, cast as the fraternity's leader, is so amped up that he often appears to be on the verge of an aneurysm.) The end result is a passable thriller that admittedly boasts a few decent twists and an overall atmosphere of tense urgency, yet, devoid of wholeheartedly developed characters, Brotherhood remains disappointingly uninvolving for the duration of its refreshingly brief running time.

out of

Forget Me Not (May 15/11)

Forget Me Not follows several teenagers - including Carly Schroeder's Sandy and Cody Linley's Eli - as they're stalked and killed by a mysterious, demon-like figure, with the situation complicated by Sandy's growing realization that her friends are being erased from existence as they're knocked off. It's an admittedly promising setup that's utilized to consistently disappointing effect by filmmaker Tyler Oliver, as the director, working from a script cowritten with Jamieson Stern, has infused the proceedings with an almost unconscionably deliberate pace that's compounded by the presence of underdeveloped, one-note characters. It is, as a result, not surprising to note that Forget Me Not fares especially poorly in its opening half hour, with the heavy emphasis on the protagonists' fun-loving antics instantly establishing an atmosphere of interminable pointlessness. The movie does improve slightly as it morphs into a rather standard teen slasher, however, as Oliver buoys the viewer's interest by offering up a handful of striking kill sequences (eg Jillian Murray's Lex is buried alive) - yet the pervasive lack of sympathetic figures ensures that even this aspect of the film inevitably falls flat. Forget Me Not's failure is especially disappointing given the novelty of its premise, as Oliver and Stern deserve some credit for attempting to bring something new to the slasher genre - which ensures that one can't help but wish that the filmmakers had devoted as much attention to the thinly-drawn characters as they have to the killer's backstory and modus operandi.

out of

About the DVDs: Phase 4 Films presents both titles with anamorphically-enhanced transfers, although, curiously, neither movie comes armed with English-language subtitles. In terms of supplemental materials, Brotherhood boasts two commentary tracks, several interviews, a copy of the short film that inspired the feature, a photo gallery, and trailers, while Forget Me Not features deleted scenes, an alternate ending, a photo gallery, and trailers.
© David Nusair