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Review: SOMETHING (2018)

SOMETHING is a film that will divide genre fans, in fact for many it will be a love it or hate it kind of film. Writer/director Stephen Portland has constructed a subtle, deliberately paced film. One that’s as much a mood piece as a traditional horror film at times. But what a dark mood it is.

A couple, Man (Michael Gazin) and Woman (Jane Rowen, HOUSE OF MANSON) are adapting to parenthood. It’s taking a lot out of them and things are a little tense. She seems to be suffering from some kind of post postpartum depression. Things take a turn for the worse when she becomes convinced they’re being stalked. But by who and why? Or is it all in her head?

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This is the third film I’ve seen recently (IT LIVES INSIDE and 3: AN EYE FOR AN EYE are the others) to deliberately leave their leads nameless. SOMETHING actually leaves everyone unnamed, which is a little odd and disconcerting at times.

An exercise in subtle horror, SOMETHING works by building unease rather than piling on jump scares and effects. The script never pushes too far into the unbelievable, always staying within the realm of the probable with just an edge of doubt. Eric Roberts (MONSTER ISLAND, HIDE IN THE LIGHT) even shows up at the end in a three-minute cameo to add another logical explanation to the events. But even that leaves unanswered questions.

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This does come at a price, though. The gradual buildup, (it’s around the eighteen-minute mark before anything odd happens), and lack of overt scares will turn some people off. I wouldn’t have minded if it had picked up the pace a little sooner. Also, the film’s framing device is one I’m not fond of, but that’s a minor issue here.

Portland’s direction makes the most of its limited budget and setting, it’s especially impressive considering this is his first film. It’s aided by convincing performances from Gazin and Rowen and a nice supporting bit by Joel Clark Ackerman as a cop.

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So far, SOMETHING has been doing well on the festival circuit, and it deserves that success. How well it carries over to a general audience is another matter, though with the right distributor it should find its audience. You can keep updated on screenings via the film’s website and its Facebook page.

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