(director/writer: Alex Thompson; screenwriter: Christopher Thompson; cinematographer: Nate Hurtsellers; editor: Michael S. Smith; music: Quinn Tsan, Macie Stewart; cast: Namir Smallwood (Dr. James Hayman), Sidney Flanigan (Helen Adso), Michael Potts (Dr. Emil Harrison), Max Lipschitz (Carol Hontalas/young doctor), Kelly O’ Sullivan (Dr. Kayla Matthews), Davis Cromer (Mark, teacher), Cheryl Lynn Bruce (Vivian Spurlock), Max Lipschitz), Bradley Grant Smith (Dr. Mac MacLauren), Rebecca Spence (Karen Adso); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Julianna Imel, Leah Gaydos, James Choi, Edwin Linker, Pierce Cravens, Alex Thompson; MarVista Entertainment; 2022)
“Upsetting but emotionally sound psychological thriller.”
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
Alex Thompson (“Saint Frances”) is director and co-writer with Christopher Thompson of this upsetting but emotionally sound psychological thriller.
It follows the medical resident James Hayman (Namir Smallwood) who becomes shaken after helping his favorite elderly patient (Cheryl Lynn Bruce) with an assisted suicide, who changes her mind at the last moment then has a fatal heart attack. This is too traumatic for James, already haunted by bad dreams. He therefore soon transfers from a big city hospital to one in a rural small town. Here he is mentored by the kind-hearted Dr. Emil Harrison (Michael Potts) and gets along with his colleagues Kelly O’Sullivan and Max Lipschitz, as he takes on the asthma case of the 19-year-old Helen (Sidney Flanigan). But she keeps returning with the same problem after treatment. He suspects her mother (Rebecca Spence) is mistreating her and investigates.
While obsessed with his patient, he fails to see how troubled he is–stressed-out from work and unable sleep because of bad dreams. He has hallucinations such as being trapped in the creepy dark hospital hallways. Horror pic images pop up, as he behaves erratic.
The uneven film (Its horror parts are not scary) makes a medical residents life drama into a horror story and remains interesting as a character study because of the fine sympathetic performance of Smallwood, as a good man in mental health trouble. He is someone who you can root for. The elements of horrors that are suppressed are introduced to stir up psychological fears.
It played at the Tribeca Film Festival.
REVIEWED ON 8/31/2022 GRADE: B