I saw this film at the Imagine film festival 2013 in Amsterdam. The
synopsis on the festival website sounded very interesting. And it
started alright, when the characters were introduced one by one, as a
natural side effect of loading them all in a limo, hired to collect and
bring them to the house where the party was. Cocktails were served, and
everyone was prepared to have an enjoyable evening, with a possible
extension of sleeping with one of the old friends.
When the host announces an "evening of integrity", no one suspects anything yet, not seeming to feel even a bit of uneasiness. It starts normally too, like a whodunit game. Couples are sent out to the various rooms to find clues for the mystery that has to be solved. Nothing out of the ordinary yet. While visiting the respective bedrooms, old memories and old bonds are refreshed. Everyone is prepared for an enjoyable evening with a diner among old friends, an additional game to pass the evening, and a conclusion in some of the bedrooms.
The atmosphere changes dramatically after the cocktails. The hostess is a psychiatrist, obviously having access to drugs. Only she is still standing, while all others awake one by one and find themselves tied to their chairs. Plus there is Lily, who we see on the video screen lying in a bathtub, seemingly dead but without further details about her fate. The hostess has a remote control unit and shows pictures and video's about past and present events, and makes very clear that there are several axes to grind. From that moment on, it turns into an uninteresting blood&gore (or torture porn) movie, where several people are wounded without a real purpose other than causing pain, only to settle an ancient account. This takes 2/3 of the running time, and I cannot find any merits in it.
We have to wait until the last 15 minutes to witness something interesting again. It has to do with Lily, who was forced to have sex with some of those present, while several others saw or heard it happening but did nothing to stop it. Of course, those involved all say they are "sorry", but that makes it even worse. I will not reveal more, if only to prevent spoilers.
All in all, this film was not enjoyable to watch, for me that is, since I always try to evade torture porn movies. The plot is original and could have been exploited much better. The beginning and ending are perfect, but the hour in between is hardly bearable to watch, because of the fact that there is no reason (that we know of at that time) for all the pain caused. In hindsight we get the message that there was indeed a real purpose, but that is too late. In other words, the scenario is unbalanced and should spread the information flow more evenly over the running time. The festival visitors gave this film the last-but-one place (40th out of 41) with average score 5.3.
Action / Comedy / Horror
Action / Comedy / Horror
AMONG FRIENDS is a twisted horror about a dinner party gone wrong. Set against an 80s backdrop, good times take a dark turn when one in the group hijacks the evening in the name of Integrity. Through an attempt to help the others come clean about secret betrayals against one another, it's revealed who's willing to cut through the bone to expose the truth. This feature directorial debut of Scream Queen Danielle Harris stars Christopher Backus, Jennifer Blanc, AJ Bowen, Dana Daurey, Brianne Davis, Kane Hodder, Kamala Jones, Alyssa Lobit and Chris Meyer.
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October 11, 2014 at 04:34 AM