Published on Sunday, 09 January 2011 19:00
Written by Will
|Directed By||Marcus Koch|
|Written By||Katie Walters, Kristian Day, Jeff Dylan Graham|
|Starring||Jeff Dylan Graham, Kristian Day, Katie Walters|
|DVD Distributer||Manic Entertainment|
|MPAA Rating||Not Rated|
|By It Now On|
Koch moves on from Gurdy to Smuggling!
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow-
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream. A Dream Within A Dream â€“ Edgar Allan Poe
Lets make no bones about it, 100 Tears
is the film (IMHO) that revitalized the slasher sub-genre when it was released in 2007. Since that time, Director Marcus Koch has kept himself very busy doing SPFX with his company Oddtopsy FX, on films like Stacy Davidson's Sweatshop
, Mel House's Closet Space
and Walking Distance
just to name a few. He was also busy putting together his follow up to 100 Tears
. The result is Fell
When I popped this one into my machine I will admit to being somewhat taken aback by the tonal change I was seeing. Where 100 Tears was a knock down drag out race to the finish line, Fell, plays as a psychological potboiler high on suspense. 100 Tears took off immediately, launching off the line like Detroit muscle in a funny car showdown. Resplendent with a creepy clown, it rumbled and flexed for the girlies while at the same time making you grab the edge of your seat while your lips peeled back. Fell on the other hand, takes its time, growing like a mote in the eye it burrows its way into your subconscious and makes you watch as it chronicles poor 'Bill' (Jeff Dylan Graham) in his spiral to hell.
In making such a radical departure thematically Koch has established himself as much more than just an FX guy playing at making movies to show off his prowess with prostheses. With Fell
he proves he doesn't need elaborate murder set pieces to tell a story, he has a camera to do that with, and he does it well. Slowly segueing into the story he introduces his subject 'Bill', allowing the audience to form opinions based upon the limited information he doles out piecemeal as the story progresses.
My first thoughts as I watched consisted of "here we go again into the brooding mind of a serial madman". What I expected and did not get was the typical vacillating scenes of awkward melancholy paired with scenes of extreme brutality which at this point have become passe in a silly Saw
sense. Instead something strange happened, it became quite clear there was much more to this story than just some fruitcake with chains in his basement. The torture porn element I kept expecting to arise was not coming at all! This was a character study, firmly grounded in today's headlines.
Bill is not a serial killer, Bill is unstable and his world which is crumbling around him is fueled by a Psychiatrist's medication and his own lack of direction and inadequacies.
As Koch manipulates the audiences expectations, lead Jeff Dylan Graham, steps up to the plate and delivers a heartfelt plea for help. Graham smolders in a drug induced crazy place where time is irrelevant and ghosts cavort unchecked. The film would not have worked without him and credit is due to fortuitous casting. Mr. Graham is an actor worth keeping an eye on. I have no doubt this film will guarantee him more work to come. In fact the entire ensemble, all five of them, work wonderfully together to provide the film with an organic and natural repartee, never forced, it is easy to see these people as friends and associates rather than actors speaking lines.
There are no weak links in the films chain, Koch has taken people who might be your neighbors and locked them in a psychological prison controlled by 'Bill's' despair. In doing so he has produced a work that easily stands among the best of 2010. A pleasant eye opener wrapped in depressants and sealed with homicide, Fell is a keeper!