Saturday 26 January 2019

Shudder Saturday: Pod (2015)

Pod comes very close to being a good little horror movie, oh so close, but just falls short, perhaps due to writer-director Mickey Keating suffering from a slight lack of confidence. Or maybe he wanted to make a film that just didn't work quite as well for me as the potential films I thought it could have been.

Brian Morvant is Martin, an ex-military man with some mental health issues who has kept himself relatively isolated, even more so when he claims to have caught and trapped a dangerous creature that was responsible for the death of his dog. This news alarms his brother (Ed, played by Dean Cates) and sister (Lyla, played by Lauren Ashley Carter), who head out to his home and hope to somehow settle him down and bring him back to some semblance of sanity.

Morvant is left to shout and wave weaponry around as he displays his frustration and fear, which he does just fine, but Cates and Carter are given more interesting journeys, attempting to be strong for the sake of a loved one they don't really know how to help. You also get a small role for Larry Fessenden.

There are times when Pod makes you forget how low the budget must have been, thanks to the level of technical competence and decent acting on display, but also one or two moments that fail to hide the shortcomings so jarringly that it feels downright lazy (a night-time car journey is among the worst I have seen, especially for anyone who has heard John Carpenter or Sam Raimi describe how this effect can be achieved quite convincingly with very little money). Keating seems to have deliberately held everything back for the third act, which is good but not quite worth the wait.

Although I can see why the decision was made to keep things ambiguous for 2/3 of the movie - is Martin mentally unstable or has he captured something nasty that is now imprisoned in his cellar? - but things could have been greatly improved here by simply laying out the truth, one way or another, and having the main characters working together with that information. When I first read the plot synopsis of this movie I started to think of Altered (the 2006 horror from Eduardo Sanchez). This could have been a similarly intense experience, with or without any real exterior threat, but Keating takes things along a different path.

But for all of the things that it gets wrong, Pod gets enough right. I don't want the fact that I was disappointed by the end result to deter other people who enjoy seeking out interesting and entertaining independent horror movies. This may not end up on many lists of personal favourites, but it's worth just under 80 minutes of your day


Americans can get a Pod here.

No comments:

Post a Comment