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There could be worse things than hearing Tobin Bell’s hypnotic, vehement tones being recited over and over again. Repetition is an oft explored theme in this psychological thriller that finds its home in the subject of grief.

Our lead protagonist, Will (Scott Hamm Duenas) is doomed to dwell in the depths of sorrow, following the disturbing and tragic death of his daughter. This has reduced him to resorting to the bottle to drown out his emotions. His consumption has led him to a counselling group, one from which he struggles to assimilate to. There is something unnerving about the attendees, with suggestions that something darker lies beneath their “good intentions”.

Among their group is outsider, Lydia (Nija Okoro) who is adrift from the pack, armed with the promise of resolving her internal conflict. She is the pathway for Will being introduced to a mysterious stranger, Von (Bell). Here is a man who is at the crossroads in Will’s descent or rise from misery, equipped with offering to tempt his soul and bring his daughter back from the dead. With the seductive trap set, Will then finds himself ensnared in a cyclical third state of grief bargaining. But what exactly does Will have left to bargain with? And will this warren only lead him deeper into a point of no return? 

The manner in which Von tempts Will is also one carried on a circular motif through vinyls; carefully etched out grooves of time that draw ever closer to its centre, before it must reach its inevitable conclusion.

The Prognosis:

Kenny Yates does well to string together a murky screenplay by stars Scott Hamm Duenas and Kipp Tribble. When dealing with time and how we can manipulate proceedings to fix the past, the creative team has a strong concept on their hands. 

The issue arises in becoming too lost in its own mythology, drowning in a slow and weighty narrative. The focus was in creating style and in doing so neglecting enough substance for the audience to grasp a hold of. Not even Tobin Bell can save it from being lost in the ether,

  • Saul Muerte