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Desolation (Movie Review)

Desolation (Movie Review)
01.26.2018by: Mike Sprague
3 10

PLOT: After being whisked away to Los Angeles by a handsome Hollywood star, Katie is left alone in his apartment, where strange and scary things begin to happen.

REVIEW: A few days ago, I was asked to review a film called DESOLATION here on AITH. I was excited because I had heard good things about the film and the trailer looked awesome. But guess what happened? I thought it was THIS movie and what I got was THIS movie. I didn't even know there were two movies called DESOLATION out, let alone two movies with the same title released a mere few weeks apart. Isn't there some kind of rule against this? Guess not. But that bit of confusion out of the way (I watched a solid 15 minutes before I figured it out) what did I think of this DESOLATION? Let's find out.

First, let's do a rundown on the plot. The film opens with a woman crying in the bathroom. The room is littered with empty wine and prescription pill bottles and an ominous newspaper headline foretells of the woman's suicide. Creepy. The woman then looks to a "hidden" camera in the wall (of what seems to be a high-class hotel room), pours rubbing alcohol over the top of her head, and lights herself up. Boom. Solid beginning. I'm all in for this flick. Let's just hope it holds up. We then open again to find a sad, lonely girl named Katie (played by Dominik García-Lorido) living a lonely life in middle America. She is prone to depression, pills, and wine. See where this is going yet? In the first 10 minutes? 

Anyhow, Katie then meets a handsome Hollywood actor named Jay (played by Brock Kelly) who's in town shooting a film. Before you can say "ulterior motives" the handsome Hollywood hunk whisks our lonely girl away from her middle American existence and out to the sunny streets of Hollywood. The two attend lavish Hollywood parties in sprawling mansions and meet exotic peeps who make endless rape-jokes. Har, har. Not kidding. From there the Hollywood hunk brings the lonely girl back to his posh apartment - inside an all-but-empty, sinister building - and then asks her to stay the weekend alone as he goes off to shot a bit part in a lame movie. Once alone in the apartment for the weekend, the shite hits the fan.

Is it the hooded rapists in the hallways? Is it the creepy priest (played by Raymond J. Barry) that lives above her? Is she going crazy? What the hell is going on?!?! That's what the film WANTS you to ask. But you won't. Not once. This is due to the fact that DESOLATION is one of the most misguided movies I have seen in quite some time - if not my entire life. I guess now would be a good time to point out that this review includes SEMI-SPOILERS as I don't know how to explain the plot to you without giving away what is supposed to be the third act reveal. I seriously don't know how to. But no worries, you'll have "guessed" it 10 minutes in - just like I did. Because after all, the plot element is on full display the entire running time.

That out of the way, get this: We're supposed to wonder the entire film what is going on with our lead girl, but not only did we see the woman, in the beginning, being filming with hidden cameras, BUT the movie itself KEEPS cutting to hidden camera footage of our lead girl throughout the entire running time. What are we supposed to think?! I have no idea who thought it was a good idea to keep cutting to the grayscale security camera footage of our heroine throughout the entire movie. Was that in the script? Or was it the director, or some producer who said, "The audience won't get the ending if we don't properly set it up." Do you mean giving away the "twist" ending from frame one - and then continuing to give the "twist" away in consistent intervals throughout? I'm at a loss for words (metaphorically).END SEMI-SPOILERS 

I guess other than the tension-less plot (we're only ever waiting for the lead to catch up with us) the film isn't bad, technically. The cinematography is aces and the sound design, score, and acting (for the most part) are all quality - with Raymond Barry being the stand-out. No complaints here. But all is for naught as the film tries to be a Hitchcockian thriller, but suspense films need, you know, suspense to keep us going. And suspense is waiting for something to happen, waiting for the other shoe to drop. And when we can clearly see said shoe from frame one, and we know that this shoe will not drop until the third act, there is little to fear in the film. You'll keep waiting for a big reveal. Holding on hope. But no dice, my friend.

That said, there is one sequence near the middle involving a bum in the stairwell ("Do you live here?"), a home/apartment invasion, and a visit from the I Spit on Your Grave police that had me and my viewing companion holding our breath. But that one solid string of sequences aside, this film is mostly a waste of time. Sad but true. And speaking of sad, one final question for anyone who might know: What the hell happened to that adorable orange and fat cat? He was my favorite character.

Extra Tidbit: DESOLATION hits theaters in New York and LA January 26th. The film hits streaming in April.
Source: AITH

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