A young man is struggling living as an only child and realizing that the adults in his life arenít always honest, either is anyone else. As a way to escape, he writes, but soon the writing seems to be more real than the world around him.
Before I start, I have to at least give writer/director Josh Hasty
credit. His first feature film, A Mannequin In Static
really attempts to be something different. It takes a risk by focusing on the relationships and the characters while only hinting at the horror throughout. But as much as I respect what he tried to accomplish, I didnít feel anything about them and had little interest as to what they were going through. The angst ridden teen really didnít generate any sympathy from me, and his life didnít seem to be all that terrible. Part of this might be because of the casting of the lead character, Alex played by Jeremy Hayes
. Not that he gives a bad performance, he just feels slightly miscast. He is too nice and well adjusted, and he didnít seem to really feel the pain of whatever he is going through.
You see, Alex is a seventeen-year-old and apparently has problems with LIARS!!! He really hates LIES!!! So he escapes into his own world by writing. Director Hasty explores this theme using a more artistic approach. To his credit, he almost pulls off a David Gordon Green
atmosphere at times. He focuses on this teenage boy going through the motions. Occasionally heíll use a split screen or this wonderful close-ups that sort of opens of the soul of his actors. I just wish the actual script didnít feel so lifeless, especially when it comes to the final sequence. This is where the ďhorrorĒ kicks in, but it didnít feel connected to the rest of the movie. For some reason, if they had just made strictly a coming of age study, it might have had more of an impact.
Looking at the credits, this is most certainly a family affair. You see a lot of similar last names and I think that is terrific. This is a family made film about the hurt and suffering our loved ones can cause. But no matter how much blood you spread in a bathtub, or how often a male character puts on a dress and carries around a knife, it doesnít make it a horror film. I wouldnít really want to call this even a thriller because there are no real thrills. The last half hour or so I just found tedious and I couldnít really believe what was happening on screen. I do however think that Josh Hasty has a terrific eye and he manages to make Mannequin look very beautiful.
I really wanted to like A Mannequin In Static. The beginning is very promising and shot with a sure handedness that reminded me of David Gordon Green. But being that the horrific aspects of a characters breakdown didnít feel legit, I wouldíve preferred a simple coming of age drama. The cast was good enough to explore a less gruesome tale, especially since the gruesome horror of it all doesnít work. I didnít believe that this character would do what he did, and frankly, I didnít care all that much either. And even though I liked Jeremy Hayes, he just didnít seem to be the right fit for Alex. But I will give credit for originality and style.