Chris Kelly, Jessica Duffy, Quinn Hunchar
Shelly: You were so cute.
John: I was so nervous…
John: I don’t know. I guess I was humbled by you.
I will try to sum this up best as I can. There is another dimension that we cannot see, where rival beings exist. The Storytellers give us happy dreams and pleasant thoughts, while the Incubus give us nightmares and sometimes shadow us in our waking lives, continuing to make us prideful, arrogant, and ultimately miserable. When a little girl, Emma (Hunchar), falls into a coma and has her spirit taken prisoner by Ink, a deformed being who longs to become an Incubus, a group of Storytellers try to rescue her. Their only hope is to get Emma’s father John (Kelly), a widower, to care about Emma again and visit her in the hospital.
There’s even more going on here than I mentioned above, but believe it or not, it all comes together in the end. This is a low budget movie that strives to look like it has a bigger budget than it does. It looks cheap and has some suspect acting all around, but the story is so darned moving that I couldn’t help but be reduced to tears by the end of it. (No shame!)
Using my method of describing movies by comparing them to other movies, I’d say this is like a combination of The Matrix, The Cell, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. We spend a lot of time inside the character’s heads during their dreams. So much so that it’s hard to know the difference sometimes. In fact, that’s one of the problems I had with the movie. Everything is shot (or processed) in a weird, dreamy sort of way that grows tiresome pretty quickly. I can’t help but think that this movie would be MUCH better if it were remade with a bigger budget and better cinematography. Oh, and better actors. The line deliveries are pretty painful at times. Though, I’d have to say that little Quinn Hunchar, as Emma, might be the best actor in the movie.
If you can get past that, though, you might enjoy a very touching, redemptive story about a man who used to be a caring, good natured father, but lost himself after his wife was killed in an accident. He became so detached that his daughter was taken away and given to her grandparents. So, John immersed himself in his job and became a business god. At least in his own eyes. But to save his daughter, he’s going to have to be torn down again.
I know it all sounds convoluted and confusing, and it was for the first third or even half of its running time, but that made the eventual resolution even more satisfying, in my opinion. Got to give writer/director Jamin Winans credit in that area, even if the directing wasn’t up to par with the story.
This one surprised me. I had almost given up on it due to the cheap look and the confusing plot, but I’m glad I stayed with it. The pay off in the end was worth it.
Over-editing and too much dreamy atmosphere can not make up for a low budget and sub-par actors. But a good story can!
10 – 1 for the somewhat cheap look and over-editing – .6 for some suspect acting here and there + .3 for the moving ending = 8.7