Sunday, August 23, 2015

Mickey Keating's Pod

Cody gets snowbound with Pod, a horror film Vertical Entertainment will be releasing in theatres and on VOD August 28th.

Ed (Dean Cates) is a family man, and with the passing of his parents the burden of keeping an eye on his troubled siblings weighs even more heavily on his shoulders. When he gets a disturbing call from his mentally unbalanced brother Martin (Brian Morvant), who now resides in the family's remote lakehouse, he recruits his promiscuous, substance abusing sister Lyla (Lauren Ashley Carter) to go on a trip into the snowy wilderness with him to hold a surprise intervention for Martin.

When Martin's brother and sister arrive at the lakehouse, they find him out of his mind with paranoia, rambling about his experience serving in the military in the middle east, claiming that the government performed experiments on him and his fellow soldiers, saying he's part of a conspiracy that stretches back to Lee Harvey Oswald. A conspiracy to use soldiers to pull off assassinations and terrorist attacks. A conspiracy that has culminated in the creation of "pods", terrifying things programmed to kill and destroy. Martin says he has found a pod in the woods around the lakehouse. He captured it. He has it locked up in the basement.

Has Martin gone insane, or is there really a monster in the basement?

Pod spends most of its running time pondering the former question rather than delving into the possibility of the latter. It could be a termed a "slow burn" of the film, since the action doesn't really kick in until around the 50 minute point of the less than 80 minute long movie, but those 50 minutes don't feel like they go slowly, even if they do consist solely of the siblings discussing the situation. It helps that the three actors are all delivering great performances, as does the fact that Martin is in a manic state of mind, the mystery and his hysteria propelling things forward.

It all builds to an explosion of bloody terror, with some Larry Fessenden thrown in for good measure.

Pod comes from writer/director Mickey Keating, a filmmaker I had never really encountered before this, although it's his third directorial effort and is listed on a filmography that's already heavy on genre work. It looks like Keating will continue building on that, and Pod shows me that he's a director worth keeping an eye on.

Despite the great cast and the promise shown by the director, Pod doesn't feel completely satisfying in the end. As it goes along, it seems like it has potential to be greater than the level it ultimately reaches. It could have amounted to more if the climactic sequence had been expanded instead of having things get wrapped up so quickly and cutting to the end credits at the 75 minute mark.

I was left wanting more and feeling like Keating could have done more with the idea he came up with... but it's not a totally bad thing to be left wanting more. At least it's better than the opposite.

Pod is well worth checking out if you want a quick fix of intrigue and horror, just don't expect to be blown away once the secrets are revealed.

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