Welcome witches and warlocks,
Today I will be reviewing the horror feature BRACKISH (2015) by writer/director Matthew A. Peters. To be describe the story, I will use my own plot summary:
A man mourning the death of his fiance is taken on a camping trip by his sister in an effort to clear his head. While on the trip, he finds a book that might resurrect his lost love; for a price.
I was drawn to this film because the story sounded like an interesting meditation on loss and coping mechanisms. The beginning quickly established that this would not be that kind of movie, so I had to adjust my expectations to something more along the lines of a budgeted grindhouse picture. Even with this recalibration, I found the plot to have some pacing issues that left interesting aspects cut entirely too short while the chases/kills were overstated.
That being said, I will give this piece some brownie points for weaving in just a hint of Cthulhu mythos to the proceedings. While the rest of the plot was more on the predictable side of things, the usage of HP Lovecraft’s work opened the door to some interesting ideas that I wish had been given more time. Given that ending, it is possible that there could be a sequel where these themes could be explored in greater depth.
Granted, any potential sequel does need to fix one major problem I had with this picture, the sound mixing. It seemed like throughout the ninety minute runtime I had to raise or lower the sound at least every two minutes to either hear what was being said or to make sure I did not blow out my eardrums. This made for a difficult viewing experience as I spent more time worrying about the volume than engaging in the feature.
On the opposite side of the spectrum, the gore/makeup effects are not overly intense, but fare much better. While the bloody kills did not always look realistic, this was more down to issues with camera angles or character blocking than whether or not the organs looked genuine. In a sense, having it be imperfect worked for me because it only further backed up my assessment that this was going after a budgeted grindhouse sort of crowd.
All in all, this was by no means a perfect feature, but it does show some promise for this relatively new production company. If the technical issues are rectified in their next films, I can imagine them finding great success with the grindhouse audience. Fans of early Herschell Gordon Lewis and THE DUNWICH HORROR (1970) will probably enjoy this outing.
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