"A few familiar ingredients yield a surprisingly fresh result."
After years of working deep behind the scenes of the movie world, Amanda Gusack went from craft services to production assistant to art department to producer -- before finally deciding to make her very own movie already. And guess what? It's a pretty good one. Spooky, too.Poor Dennis got a raw deal: He's got inoperable bone cancer and only a few months left to live. He and his loyal girlfriend Lilly decide to rent a new house, intent on enjoying their final weeks together. For some semi-morbid reason, Dennis decides to install a bunch of motion-sensitive video cameras throughout the house. His aim is to document his battle with cancer ... although I can't really imagine who'd want to watch the final film.
But the cameras give Ms. Gusack a wonderfully creepy gimmick, and she exploits it quite well. Clearly inspired by The Blair Witch Project, the best of Japanese Horror, and a good old-fashioned haunted house chiller, In Memorium is a clever, creepy, and surprisingly compelling little horror flick. Suffice to say that there's an extra presence occupying this house ... and the cameras manage to grab just a few quick peeks before the static kicks in.
The entire movie is presented in a "surveillance" style collection of video clips, but the director is smart enough to know when to let the lens linger in one place long enough. The key is to piece lies with the characters, and if those characters get lost amidst the non-stop editing and handycam trickery, then the flick gets pretty old pretty fast.
Such is not the case here, as Gusack's put together a bare-essence psychological creeper that has just enough story and character to keep its one location interesting. The two leads are really quite excellent, especially for newcomer-types, in a project that looks a lot trickier than it is. (I can only imagine how many months this flick took in the editing bay.) The story, which also involves a mildly strange landlady and Dennis' angry brother, offers a few unexpected twists and turns -- even if some of the creepier moments feel like they fell out of The Grudge.
But for all its obvious "borrowing" and mildly familiar moments, In Memorium is a pretty novel little shocker. It runs a slick 73 minutes, it's anchored by two very compelling main characters, and (if you give the flick a fair shake and watch it with the lights off) it delivers more satisfying jolts than most of the big-budget horror movies I've seen this year."In Memorium" is a strange, slick, and impressively watchable piece of micro-budget filmmaking. It might not be a title that will blow off the Blockbuster shelves, but it's certainly good enough to work as a memorable calling card for this Gusack gal. Armed with an ample budget, she could do some damage.