Combustible Celluloid
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With: Kirby Bliss Blanton, Rachel DiPillo, Alex Shaffer, Samuel Larsen, James Landry Hébert, Michael Filipowich
Written by: Kyle Arrington, Darrell Wheat
Directed by: Darrell Wheat
MPAA Rating: R for bloody horror violence, teen drug and alcohol use, and language including some sexual references
Running Time: 82
Date: 10/28/2016

Recovery (2016)

1 Star (out of 4)

Tomb Phone

This gory thriller begins with selfish, unsympathetic characters, and subsequently leads them through a clumsy, routine "trapped in a house with a sadistic maniac" scenario with all the seams showing.

In Recovery, Jessie (Kirby Bliss Blanton) thinks she has a new boyfriend, until she attends a graduation party and sees him kissing another woman. A similarly jilted girl, Kim (Rachel DiPillo) invites her to ditch the party and go dancing, and Jessie agrees. She invites another boy, Logan (Samuel Larsen), along, and her brother Miles (Alex Shaffer) talks his way into tagging along.

After some drinking, dancing, and drugs, Kim disappears — with Jessie's phone. Using a "recovery" app, the other three trace her to a creepy house, where a disfigured young man (James Landry Hébert) and his father (Michael Filipowich) are in the process of stalking and imprisoning young ladies to be part of their "family." And Jessie is their latest target.

Recovery shows just how skilled something like Don't Breathe really is, which is similar, but opposite. That movie involves desperate, understandable, outcast characters rather than what we get here: spoiled, dishonest teens who are focused mainly on their own pleasures, identities, and possessions.

The suspense sequences show the teens wandering cluelessly through the house, supposedly looking for the phone and their friend, but easily distracted. The filmmakers don't develop a sense of time or place, and so characters are left wandering for awkward lengths of time, can't seem to get from one place to another, and apparently can't hear anything either.

The best thing one can say about this movie is that, at the very least, it doesn't employ shaky-cam or jump-scares, and its masked villain is somewhat effective; with his collection of Universal Monster posters, he may be more interesting than the protagonists.

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