Thursday, May 26, 2011

Fertile Ground and Seconds Apart (Both 2011)

Well, on to two more "After Dark Originals."

First is "Fertile Ground", which is from Adam Gierasch and Jace Anderson. The movie deals with Emily (Leisha Hailey) and Nate Weaver (Gale Harold), a married couple. After Emily has a miscarriage, they move to Nate's old childhood farmhouse, where Emily finds out she's pregnant once again. All seems fine, until a 150 year old skull is dug from the ground, and the next thing you know, Emily starts having visions of ghostly specters, her husband starts behaving strangely, and she ends up being afraid for her life. Oh, and this pregnancy might not be the gift she thought it was...

"Fertile Ground" is an interesting change for Gierasch and Anderson, whose previous efforts were the 80's slasher meets modern day torture film "Autopsy" and the largely reverent remake of "Night of the Demons." Sure, there's a bit of bloodshed and moments of gallows humor, but this is a more traditional scare fest. To be fair, it's not a bad movie...up to a point. I liked the duo's prior movies, and for the large part they seem comfortable doing a different type of horror film, with some decent scares and atmosphere, as well as an effective score from Joseph Conlan. Then the last fifteen minutes occur, and the movie promptly falls apart, becoming a poor imitation of "The Amityville Horror" with an actress who can't act worth a damn. Too bad, because the movie is almost a sleeper movie.

Fortunately, Antonio Negret's "Seconds Apart" is a pretty effective sleeper, and the first "After Dark Original" in this line-up to win me over. This movie is about identical twins Jonah and Seth (Edmund and Gary Entin), who share the gift of telekinesis, which they of course use for evil. They're "project" of using said gift to cause and commit murder (and in the process film it) is doing fine...until Detective Lampkin (Orlando Jones-remember him?) starts to investigate. To make matters even worse, one of them falls for a girl, which really puts a wrench in the works.

Though it suffers from a few flaws (do we really need another "man explains what's going on and nobody believes them" scene?), this is a shockingly impressive movie, with all around strong performances and an overriding atmosphere and dread permeating the proceedings. Even more impressive is the way the film is able to throw a few twists and curve-balls that actually help the film rather than hinder it-in fact, every twist and turn makes sense within the proceedings, especially in the conclusion. I also really liked the dynamic between the two brothers, which felt natural to the proceedings. These guys really do behave like brothers, scuffles and all, and while not exactly likable, you can at least identify with their relationship somewhat.

So as a whole. "Fertile Ground" is hampered by a poor final act and a weak performance. "Seconds Apart" however, is one of the more worthwhile sleepers to come out this year, and comes with a reccomendation.

Rating:

Fertile Ground: 6/10
Seconds Apart: 8/10

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