“BLINDSIDED” from director Johnny Mitchell is coming to digital platforms on August 13th. Bea Santos, Eric Knudsen, Melinda Shankar, and Atticus Mitchell star in this Canadian horror-thriller that centers around a young woman who has recently been blinded. While her father goes out of town to attend to business her friends from college come to stay with her, but a dark threat lurks around the secluded home turning the night into a desperate fight for survival.
I think a suspenseful story-line with a contained plot sometimes is just what the doctor ordered to create a fun, engaging night at home with a film. The progression of this script is like many in the genre. But I also feel the premise of a group of people inside their home being stalked by a sinister threat lurking in the shadows is a story built for retelling. You add it with a collection of performances that show a ton of effort, with dialogue that creates a natural charm to the levity, and the result to me is a film that tells a familiar story, while at the same time being one with more than enough creative energy to stand on its own merits.
The character-types were also similar to others we have seen, and the tropes play out as you would expect. But it still creates an ominous atmosphere that I found very appealing. The twist in this film is the main character suffering from recent blindness. And with a film that lives in the shadows, the added uneasiness this dynamic creates in my opinion was a great addition to the overall mood of the film. It elevates the tension when it needs to and with some crisp direction from Mitchell, I think there were plenty of nicely framed creepy moments throughout that were a strong positive.
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As the viewer you can relate to the stress being thrown at the main character and with her being unable to see. This added mystery of how certain situations would be handled, and what must be going through he mind do add a strong level of unnerving fun for an otherwise routine home-invasion thriller. Director Johnny Mitchell and cinematographer Mick Reynolds work together to create a strong level of visual appeal for a limited budget. The camera positioning and the timing of certain scenes were very well-crafted. The lighting was natural to create endless amounts of shadowing throughout the house to keep the viewer on edge. Also, without the studio polish, the grounded tone helps create more genuine intensity.
The performances were very capable and better than you often get in smaller budget indie films. Bea Santos was essential to this film as a woman recently blinded and she sold it perfectly. She brought this film all it needed and with a range of sincere emotional expression, I felt as if I went through this film with her and that is always a bonus for genre films like this. Shankar and Knudsen were also great additions to the film by delivering a couple of grounded characters. They pumped shades of personality into the roles, and they had a believable chemistry with one another to sell their relationship dynamics. I also thought Atticus Mitchell did a great job and was able to give his characters the layers it needed.
Like I said this movie is familiar to others. But I will say the crafting of the dialogue was clever at times and showed a unique sense-of-humor that I loved. Throughout the film there were well-timed, and capably delivered attempts at humor that would break the tension nicely. While not pulling the viewer out of the suspense it was continually building. It was subtle, but I think it was a major factor in creating fresh tropes inside of characters that didn’t necessarily have a ton of development. The pace is swift, it doesn’t wear out its welcome, and I had a good time with it. If you like small budget indie films in this genre, then I recommend checking this one out.