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ELSEWHERE
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Reviewed by: Pat Torfe

Directed by: Nathan Hope

Starring:
Anna Kendrick
Tania Raymonde
Jon Gries
Paul Wesley

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about

Best friends Sarah and Jillian are your typical good girl/bad girl pair with cliché boy problems living in Goshen, Indiana. Jillian is also a cocktease and a camwhore (internet talk for posting slutty pictures of yourself on a website for any desperate person to drool over). When Jillian abruptly goes missing (this of course after making claims of running away) with little response from the cops, Sarah makes it her mission to find out what happened to her friend. Aided by computer-geek Jasper, Sarah ends up digging through her town's past, putting me to sleep in the process.

Is it good movie?

'Oh great,' you say, 'another direct-to-video film starring someone from TWILIGHT that will only sell because of their input'. Once again, dear reader, you are correct. The film's directed and written by Nathan Hope, whose only real exposure to the horror genre comes from doing cinematography duties on films like HELLRAISER: INFERNO and THE FOG remake. Also, it has your typical 'young adult actors portraying stereotypical teens' thing that—ah f*ck it, you know the rest.

How bad could it be? For starters, the film tries to market itself as one of those edgy, spooky teen thrillers with horror elements with a supernatural twist thrown in. It's not. Don't let the R rating fool you, either, as there's really no gore or blood in this drier than dust effort. I suspect that the rating was put there just so the younger kiddies could feel rebellious by watching a supposed R-rated film to impress their friends. Really, it's crap like this that insults me and insults the rest of the horror fans who expect bang for their R-rated buck.

Story-wise, the potential to capitalize on the inherent dangers of social networking is wasted. Correction: the idea was thrown out halfway through the film. You wouldn't know it though, given that there's nothing to really hold your attention throughout the damn thing, which is too long to begin with and has laughable tension elements. At 106 minutes, you'd better give me some skin or plasma to hold my attention if your story sucks. While you're at it, throw in some characters that don't reek of clichés and are worth caring about.

The only things ELSEWHERE has going for it are Anna Kendrick and Tania Raymonde, who make up for this forgettable affair by being easy on the eyes and being somewhat competent in their characters. Other than that, director Nathan Hope puts his experience in cinematography to work by crafting some good-looking shots together with as much visual information on the screen as he can. But even doing that can't hide the fact that there's a huge missed opportunity here. Fans of the Twilight books and associated films will probably check this out and appreciate it for Anna, while everyone else will be flaming said group's MySpace pages over that decision.

Video / Audio

Video: From his experience, Hope should know how to shoot and make a film look better than it should be, and it's no exception here. This 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer has a great colour palatte with strong black levels and (for the most part) good detail. Noise is a bit of a distraction issue in parts, particularly in the darker lit scenes.

Audio: Like the video, the audio also excels. Given a choice between the Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround and the Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo tracks, there's not much difference in terms of quality. Both showcase great levels when it comes to mixing dialogue and what's going on in the scene, with no distortion at all.

The Extras

First up for a dry movie is an equally-dry commentary by director Nathan Hope and producer Vincent Palomino, with Hope obviously doing the majority of the talking. His lack of enthusiasm when recalling information on the making of the film makes the dead spaces in the track jarring, to say the least. If you can stick with it, however, Hope and Palomino do provide some good detail on casting, locations and the whole shooting experience.

Next is a nine minute making-of featurette entitled "The Road To Elsewhere". Coming across as routine more than anything, you get brief interviews with some of the cast and director, spliced in with footage from the movie. The whole featurette is windowboxed, and seemingly cuts off at the very last moment without any credits as you'd expect on most making-ofs.

Following that is a selection of deleted scenes, which is kind of a half truth. These are more extended dialogue scenes than anything else. Nothing shocking. The photo gallery is made up primarily of production shots of the cast going through the motions, with a couple shots of various onesheets for the film.

The film's trailer rounds out the extras.

Last Call

More of a frustration than anything else, ELSEWHERE could've been something great. Instead, it's a duh-duh affair that drags on with a serious lack of suspense or anything remotely interesting. I'm more insulted that it tried to pass itself off as an R-rated flick, when an episode of Grey's Anatomy is more violent than this. TWILIGHT fans who can't wait for Anna Kendrick to get back to sparkly vampires might dig it, everyone else looking for a tension-filled thriller should look...somewhere else.

ARROW IN THE HEAD'S RATING SYSTEM
star star star star I'D BUTCHER MY FAMILY TO SEE THIS AGAIN
star star star HANG ME BUT I DUG IT A LOT
star star AN OK WAY TO KILL TWO HOURS
star JUST SLING AN ARROW IN MY HEAD AND LET ME DIE IN PEACE

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