Welcome witches and warlocks,

Today I will be reviewing the drama/thriller INDIANA by writer/director Toni Comas. To best describe the story, I will turn to the IMDB plot summary:

“Michael no longer wants to partake in the paranormal business he and partner Josh started together. But Josh convinces him to take on one last case, far more troubling than anything they’ve ever worked on before.”

I have to say, the interviews at the beginning of this about demons and possessions caught my interest right away. There was something about the straightforward nature of these opinions that set the tone without ever giving away any of the actual story. I was entranced and ready to settle in for a low key paranormal thriller.

Then, oddly, it began to be implied that our paranormal team was a sham. Not to say that they are trying to con people, they seem to believe in their work, but just that they have never really encountered anything supernatural. The idea that they are healing their clients psyche more than ridding the world of anything paranormal turns out to be the focus of this feature as each of the investigators also has their own inner demons.

Also struggling with loss is a mysterious old man who spends time methodically setting some sort of plan into motion. His story is interspersed with that of our leads, so he proves to be the enigma that we assume is driving a lot of the action. The thing is, it is not clear what, if any, connection he might have to our investigation. This mystery makes his actions intriguing, but at the same time it requires some patience on the audience’s part to see how the two stories are intertwined.

When the paths of the three characters do finally cross, it is an incredibly moving scene that shows how different people cope with fear and loss. The only ghosts present are those born out of regret or pain, the type of things that haunt people throughout their life. It is safe to say that those who want a more paranormal slant will find themselves disappointed, but to me the scene worked with a quiet, intense grace that made an impact.

What sells these emotional moments are the actors, who manage to bring a simple authenticity to their roles. Without too much dialogue we can intuit much of the character’s backstories, which makes them seem as if they are real people. We believe their conversations because they are not just using exposition to explain who they are and their relationship to the other characters. This level of realism makes it easier to see the everyman qualities of our leads which also fitting in line with the low key nature of the feature.

All in all, this is not so much of a thriller as it is a drama that unpacks the ghosts that haunt people. The highlights are the realistic characters and a moving finale that places an emphasis on people over the supernatural. Fans of movies like Ghost From the Machine (2010) or In the Bedroom (2001) will find this to be of a similar nature.

INDIANA had it’s Canadian Premiere at the Fantasia Film Festival on July 30th.

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