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IN SEARCH OF LOVECRAFT
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Reviewed by: Dave Murray

Directed by: David Hohl

Starring:
Renee Sweet
Tytus Bergstrom
Saqib Mausoof

Movie:  
star star star star
Extras:  
star star star
Overall:  
star star star star
What's it about
After being assigned a fluff piece about an annual Lovecraft festival, an amateur reporter and her cameraman are drawn into a spiraling conspiracy of madness involving a cult bent of resurrecting one of the Old Ones, the powerfully ancient sleeping gods that Lovecraft created in his Cthulu Mythos stories.
Is it good movie?

While displaying its independent charm very proudly on it's sleeves, In Search Of Lovecraft does have some shining moments, depite ultimately falling flat and failing to deliver on its verite style narrative focus. What hampers this movie is some seriously bad acting, a muddled interpretation of Lovecraft's fictional Mythos, and production values that, while valiant and well meaning, come across as a bad video project made with some friends over the course of a weekend. Don't get me wrong, it's not an ugly shitfest like This Hollow Sacrament, but in an age where movies of this style are becomming both increasingly common and more sophistocated (such as in [REC] and The Zombie Diaries), it really hurts any movie not to bring an A game in terms of visuals. The script, too, is lacking because it's all over the place, yet very 'connect the dots' in its plotting. The characters follow the breadcrumbs which lead them to the backstory, then they are threatened by the cult, they resort to protection from a wiccan who doesn't know a word of latin but fakes it pretty well, while the demons/gods/madness or whatever possesses some of them, kills almost all of them, until they are saved by the lead and her chinese pawn shop sword.

I know it sounds like a bitchy tirade, and I skipped a whole lot for the sake of brevity, but it simplifies what could have been an interesting story and instead ends up being a predictable trip down horror movie memory lane. But I didn't thoroughly hate the movie either. It did impress me in some places. I was very impressed with Tytus Bergstrom, and his brooding and mysterious character was a great anchor to the film. His fate was a little harsh, but I liked him. His talent made me forget for a moment the blinding rage that the young dumb student inspred in me. Yes, she really needed to die, and fast. Renee Sweet was okay as the reporter, but in a lead role carrying the movie, it shows that she's just finding her feet as an actress. Still, she sticks with it and manages an impressive run towards the end. Saqib Mausoof was what he needed to be, kind of a fake ass Lovecraft scholar, and he was damn creepy at the end. For the most part the cast did good, but they were hampered by the writing and the stunted visual style.

I did like the running joke, when young people, being asked about Lovecraft, went on about how his movies kicked ass or how he was a legend during the 70's and 80's slasher craze or some shit. Those bits got some chuckles form me. But as far as movies dealing with Lovecraftian themes go, anything that gets made is going to be compared to the awesome movies of Stewart Gordon. It's as inescapable as a 1000 foot octopus god would be. And I've yet to find an indie movie that stacks up against that. But there is talent here, and there is promise of something more, something better, but it all comes across as a little lacking in this package.
Video / Audio
Video: Fullscreen. The flick looks bad, like VHS-C bad, which these days is not a good sign.

Audio: English (Dolby 2.0). The sound was uneven in places, but servicable.
The Extras
None on this screener. Too bad, I like seeing features in indie flicks.
Last Call
Held back by bad writing and cinematography that's more Hi8 than digital, In Search Of Lovecraft could have been so much more. It's a decent enough independent effort with some fine beginning actors and a director in search of a style and a voice, but in these days when ever the indies are ramping up the talent and quality (especially in the fields of digital filmmaking), even understated stories such as this one should be improved upon before being set free into the world. It's too bad though, because normally I love this kind of creeping horror sort of movie. With a little more work it could have been something greater. As it stands, it doesn't live up to other indie movies that I've seen lately that have done so much more with the same tools, or in some cases with even less. Then again, I've seen big budget horror productions that have sucked a ton more ass than this, so I guess that's saying something.

Maybe their next effort will improve on the glimmers of hope seen here?
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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