(director/writer/editor: Erik Bloomquist; screenwriter: story by Carson Bloomquist, Erik Bloomquist and Adam Weppler: cinematographer: Thomson Nguyen; music: Gyom Amphoux; cast: Catherine Corcoran (Abby), Adam Weppler (Seth), Nicholas Tucci (Richard), Fran Kranz (Mystery Man); Runtime: 94; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Carson Bloomquist, Erik Bloomquist, Nicholas Tucci, Adam Weppler; Mainframe Pictures/Indie Rights; 2018)
“Engrossing but nerve-wracking enigmatic psychological thriller.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Erik Bloomquist (“She Came From The Woods”) is the writer-director of this engrossing but nerve-wracking enigmatic psychological thriller. It’s about opposite half-brothers who meet as grown men after never seeing each other before and try to make a relationship that seems unlikely. The story is developed by Bloomquist, Adam Weppler (one of the stars), and Carson Bloomquist.
The economically strapped modest earning worker Seth (Adam Weppler) is a young man, whose mom died from a sickness early in his life and his dad recently died. He is surprisingly invited by letter to spend a weekend at the Greenwich, Connecticut mansion of his unknown long lost older wealthy half-brother Richard (Nicholas Tucci). Their lifestyles and personalities greatly differ, with a bland Seth as an ‘everyman’ figure and Richard, a highly competitive, freaky, egotistical show-off from the upper-class. Seth is upset that Richard never let on he was living with his sexually inviting girlfriend Abby (Catherine Corcoran). Later on we learn Richard’s wife died in a traffic accident, while he escaped almost unhurt from the same car except for a loss of hearing–causing him to wear hearing aids. A strange first day is spent as Richard challenges Seth to a game of “fluffy bunny.” Here two people alternate putting marshmallows in their mouth, one, or two, at a time. After each marshmallow, the words “fluffy bunny” must be made audible. The next day is even more weird, as the siblings are playing mind-games while trying to get to know each other, with Richard veering between behavior that is either bullying or uneasily comforting to Seth. So much so Seth wants to leave but his host offers him $10,000 to stay, which he can’t resist. As the day moves on sexual tensions mount and sexual games get played out, as big brother batters little brother for lacking confidence.
Meanwhile Abby acts so creepy and is sexually available to either brother, as the femme fatale. It aims for Hitchcock-like suspense, and relies on its atmospheric mansion splendor to keep us enticed. Why Seth was not given by Richard’s father the same opportunities he gave Richard remains unanswered until the climactic finish. We are then left with a sinister plot twist (introducing a new character and an unsatisfying conclusion).
The weird drama, with its Hamlet identity crisis moment, is well-acted and never fails to be at every turn unpredictable. Though I still found it somewhat unfulfilling for a film I mostly was absorbed in.
REVIEWED ON 4/1/2019 GRADE: B- https://dennisschwartzreviews.com/