Search the Cinema Head Cheese Archives!

March 4, 2012

Movie Review: Nailbiter (2012)

Directed by Patrick Rea

Starring Joicie Appell, Emily Boresow and Jason Coffman

Tornado's strike up a primal fear in just about everyone. Even if your not from the Midwest and experienced them first-hand, we've all seen The Wizard of Oz and know they are serious business. An unstoppable beast that falls from the heavens, leaving a trail of destruction and death. And while most movies will tend to center around the drama of the storm itself, writer/director Patrick Rea has chosen to use it as the perfect backdrop for plunging you into a scenario much more creepy and ominous then any storm.

Nailbiter chronicles the last day in the life of the Maguire family. Its supposed to be a happy day for Janet (Erin McGrane) and her three daughters, who have piled into their car and are on their way to pick up Janet's husband from the airport, returning home from over-sea's military service. The winds are picking up and the newscasts are warning there are storms on the way, but Janet is determined to be there to greet her husband when he lands. They stop at a gas station on the way and are warned by the local sheriff to turn back, there are twisters lurking about. They fail to heed the sheriff's advice and soon find themselves in the path of a monsterous tornado. In a panic, they ditch their car and run for the safety of a nearby farmhouse. It appears empty and as a last resort they break into the storm cellar to take shelter. The twister quickly passes and they soon find that the storm is the least of their worries as a tree has fallen over the cellar door, leaving them trapped, and something is outside, lurking about. It has sharp teeth and it is hungry. They hear footsteps above and realize that their nightmare has just begun.

This is an indie suspense/thriller/horror movie that has the look and feel of a big budget production. The cinematography and score are both top-rate. Patrick Rea gets his creepy little story across to the audience quite effectively and is able to accomplish this with a surprisingly minimal amount of special effects. Much of the horrors are implied and he pulls it off quite skillfully. An admirable accomplishment in this day and age of over-saturated CGI nonsense. It really reminds me a lot of M. Night Shyamalan's early work. And I mean that in a most complimentary way. A story where less is more and the element of suspense is used to drive the story. (As opposed to so many movies which force you to suffer through the first two acts in the hopes that the final one will make up for the shortcomings of the storyline.) I really feel compelled to give a special nod to Joicie Appell as well. Her performance as the creepy old bitch, Mrs. Shurman, the matriarch of the storm-demon family was a total show-stealer.

Nailbiter is a good horror story that rides on the back of a great suspense film. I shudder to think what Patrick Rea could do with a big budget, but as it stands, he is doing quite nicely for himself at the moment. Hopefully the word gets out on this movie and mainstream audiences will get their shot at seeing it.

7 out of 10
Reviewed by KennyB

No comments:

Post a Comment