Silent Panic begins with a credits sequence that could be a music video for the film’s theme song. All visually striking but unconnected and unrelated images. Perhaps if editor turned writer/director Kyle Schadt had worked this kind of visual firepower into the film itself it would have been less tedious to watch.
Eagle (Sean Nateghi), Bobby (Joseph Martinez, Blood Shot) and Dominic (Jay Habre) are three friends who’ve gone off camping. They return to Eagle’s car and make a grim discovery, somebody has dumped a woman’s corpse in the trunk. Eagle has just gotten out of jail after doing time for a crime he didn’t commit and is understandably reluctant to go to the police. He convinces them to leave the body where it is while the think of a way to dispose of it. Complications ensue.
The complications, however, aren’t what you might expect. Rather than go the thriller route or even a Weekend at Bernie’s type farce, Silent Panic becomes a psychological study. We see the effects the stress and conflict concealing the body has on the trio and those around them.
While I give Schadt credit for trying something different the execution leaves a lot to be desired. A lot of the dialogue is on the nose. And the voice-overs from Dom’s journal, (he’s a writer so of course, he keeps one. The fact it’s evidence be damned), are just info dumps.
The characters and their situations are fairly cliched. Eagle who doesn’t want to go back to prison. Bobby is a single dad trying to keep clean after breaking a cocaine addiction, you get the idea. Silent Panic is full of scenes that should have worked fall flat. For example when Eagle’s girlfriend Robin (Constance Brenneman) takes the car to go shopping and he has to get to her before she puts anything in the trunk. That could have been played either tense or funny. Instead, it’s dull and the excuses he rattles off when he finally catches up with her are eye rollingly stupid.
The film does have its pluses though. The scenes between Bobby and his son are quite well done. And the music by Field Observations, (who also scored House of Demons) gives many of the scenes whatever impact they have. But that’s way too little positive to balance out the negative. Silent Panic is a film about poor decisions that is itself full of poor decisions.
Indie Rights open Silent Panic in Los Angeles on July 5 for a week-long run at the Arena Cinelounge. The film premieres on Amazon Instant Video on the same date. Silent Panic will continue to roll out on additional Cable and Digital VOD in the coming weeks. You can check the films Facebook page for details.