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Rusty Martin Sr.
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Let her out! Let her out of there! Let her out of there!
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Surprisingly Smart and Terrifying Horror-Thriller may Signal an Ed Furlong Comeback!
Grabbed a Stitch blu-ray off of Amazon after reading some positive reviews on horror sites. It ended up being one of those off-kilter movie discoveries that I live for.
First, let me state that I popped the blu-ray into my player with very low expectations, so that was definitely a factor. I am also forgiving of low-budget flaws if a movie otherwise kicks ass. A few such flaws do pop up in the first ten minutes - namely a couple of video-gamey FX shots. But nothing too bad. After that, the rest of the FX are great. In fact, the overall visual style is quite imaginative, like a Salvador Dali painting crossed with a Boschian nightmare.
Stitch follows the story of a married couple played by Ed Furlong (Terminator 2, American History X) and Shawna Waldron. Their daughter recently died. So their two friends, played by Shirly Brener and Laurence Mason (The Crow, Prison Break) take the grieving couple out to the desert for some kind of healing ritual. The first act is a bit slow but there is some great sound design in that ritual scene. Creepy as hell.
After the ritual, the movie finally kicks up some horror. We get our first glimpse of a demonic entity hidden in the shadows. That bit was the most effective jump-scare for me. Literally spilled my soda all over my pants!
Without giving a blow-by-blow account of the plot, things move into high gear as all of the characters get stitched and slashed by an unseen force. All the while, we learn about certain dirty secrets and betrayals between the couples. It's as if they are being punished for misdeeds, with their inner ugliness manifesting as external scars. If that wasn't enough, an epic lightning storm rains fire from the sky, trapping them in the desert house.
From the sixty-minute mark on, it's a nonstop barrage of great jump-scares and terrifying situations, backed by surreal and nightmarish imagery. Body horror and edge-of-your-seat suspense keep things tense. VFX and sound FX are top notch for a B-movie.
Then the whole thing goes in a direction I really wasn't expecting; A direction that I thought was either brilliant or insane. In fact, just to make sure I really understood what happened, I immediately re-watched the final 30 minutes. And for that I give Stitch high marks. It goes beyond horror and attempts some Matrix-y "perception of reality" stuff. You either buy into that type of thing or not. I do. So I had no problem with where the story went. In fact, I thought it was quite original. I can't say more without giving away major spoilers, so I won't.
CONS: - Low to mid budget - Two or three half-baked FX shots in the first act - Takes twenty to thirty minutes to get going
PROS: - Highly original with some big ideas - Incredibly surreal yet grounded in emotion (a rare feat) - Solid acting from all, especially Furlong - Visually stunning with some psychedelic VFX - Terrifying from the sixty-minute mark on!
The PROS win by a wide margin on this one.
Maybe (finally) this will be Ed Furlong's comeback vehicle. All the pieces are there!
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