March 15, 2017

VOD Review: Therapy (2017)

"Not bad, kid."
I'm not big on video subscription service add-ons in general, but I personally signed up for a Shudder subscription just to be able to see this movie. For $5 a month, Shudder delivers a ton of quality titles to choose from, but it's really the obscure ones like Therapy that made it worth my while.

And yes, the fact that Therapy was written and directed by a 16-year-old is a pretty big selling point. Age shouldn't matter in the grand scheme of things, but to see someone so young create something of this quality begs our attention, as it should yours.

When three vandals decide that they're going to do some French graffiti in an abandoned house, the axe-wielding maniac who stalks its hallways takes exception, killing two of them, and tying the youngest of them up, probably because he wants a girlfriend.

When the night watchman of the property find the bloody scene, and a box full of video equipment, it's up to two of France's finest to sift through the footage to make sense of what happened there. On those tapes, they watch as five friends head out into the French countryside to pitch a tent in a field, because that's what passes as a fun weekend in France.

The camping trip goes well until the gang hears screams in the middle of the night, and decides to go investigate them... although why in the hell anyone with any sense in their head wouldn't pack up, leave the area, and call the Police and let them go investigate the screams is beyond me. They all end up in another old abandoned building, stalked by who we can only guess was the axe guy from the beginning of the movie, and blood is shed.

Can the Cops watch through the footage in time to find and save them? Come on, this is a Horror movie, you don't expect a happy ending, do you?

Therapy is a move that I wanted to be excellent, but instead, it ended up being only good. Really good in parts.

When talking about this movie, you almost have to mention the fact that it was written and directed by a 16-year-old kid, Nathan Ambrosioni. I mean, this is a professionally-made movie that has screened internationally and met with positive reviews, so his age is noteworthy here. It's especially noteworthy that at such a young age, Ambrosioni has skills behind the camera. He knows what's scary, and he knows how to put it all together into an effective package. His scriptwriting skills could use some work (his characters are thin, and there are cliches abound), but if this kid is making movies that are this effective now, I can't imagine what he'll be producing with a few more years of tradecraft under his belt.

This is a claustrophobic movie that utilizes the dark and terrifying atmosphere of its abandoned building setting to the max. Sure, the characters do some stupid shit that makes no sense, but they do it in a creepy locale, and young Nathan Ambrosioni's direction elicits enough dread to make us forgive him for writing stupid characters. The way that Therapy mixes straight forward filming and found footage together was interesting. It may not have worked perfectly (it killed the tension at times), but the way that the movie jumps back and forth between the footage, and the people watching it, kept it fresh. 

All of that said, there's a lot about this movie that makes little to no sense. How is it that the detectives were only able to process and watch a few minutes of the found footage at a time? Is France really that far behind the times? It makes for a nice plot device, but come on, is that the best that you got? And why would you enter that old, creepy ass building in the dead of night? You know the ones that the blood-curdling screams are emanating from? And why was the detective such a train wreck?

The script makes little sense at times. Ignore it, and enjoy the atmosphere.

It has its bloody moments, most of them made up of disturbing shots rather than overly-bloody gore gags.

It's odd to see a French film with nothing in the way of on-screen sexuality, but then it's directed by a 16-year-old kid, so we can understand.

A C+ grade doesn't sound like much of a ringing endorsement, I know, but despite the movie's flaws, it's an engaging, claustrophobic ride that we were happy we experienced. Given that its writer/director was only 16 when he made Therapy, we can forgive him for his shortcomings.

This was an effective little flick that is definitely worth checking out on Shudder.


Therapy is now streaming for free for Shudder subscribers. Click below to check it out.

All relatively unknown, all lovely.

1 comment :

  1. If it matters to anyone else who reads this, I give it a solid B.

    I think there might have been some parts left on the editing room floor. I agree that the cop seemed as though she was somehow part of what was going on, or something else happened that was cut, and we're just left to wonder. Another possibility, all be it a remote one, is that it was just lost on translation. Perhaps there was something about French culture that if we knew about it, then we would have caught something in the movie that a Frenchy would have.

    There is another blog/website that I found this movie on, And I am not part of that site, but if you are into FF movies, you might find some good ones lying about that you missed. I would say that I have watched about 5 or 6 really good movies that I don't think are on THB(I know you are only one person, he has a small staff of reviewers). But there is no comparison, THB is by far the most kickass horror review site on the interweb, PERIOD, end of fucking story.