Greetings, all. Ambush Bug here with another AICN HORROR: ZOMBIES & SHARKS column. This time I take a look at Michael Clark Duncan’s last film, A RESURRECTION. I review the film later on, but before that, here’s an online chat I had with director Matt Orlando about the film, which will be coming to DVD this week!
BUG: For those who aren't familiar with the film, can you explain what A RESURRECTION is all about?
MATT ORLANDO (MO): A Resurrection is about a school psychologist who is trying to help a mentally ill student who is claiming that his brother is coming back from the grave for revenge on the students who killed him.
BUG: You were able to assemble quite an eclectic cast for this one. How did that come about? Was having Jamie Kennedy involved helpful in bringing in such talent?
MO: Jamie came on board after the ball was rolling. Aaron Levine and Phillip Glasser drove the film forward, and Jamie was brought on through Phillip after we had the cast. Jamie was into it, and it was great having him involved.
BUG: The film deals with death from a couple of angles--first psychological, then somewhat supernatural. How did your own feelings about death influence how you approached making this film?
MO: I grew up a pastor's son, so I imagine questions of faith and death and all those things we think about were in there from that. Faith was central to the theme of the film. The hero had no faith, and the villain had plenty.
BUG: This is Michael Clark Duncan's last movie. How did he become involved with the film, and what he was like to work with?
MO: Michael was such a long shot. It was one of those "We're sending it out to Michael Clarke Duncan." And I was like “Okay, good luck...” Then they came and said “he's going to do it.” I think I fainted. He was such a larger than life guy, and an amazing talent, but he never acted like I was a first-time director. He treated me and our film as though it were a big production, and it wasn't. He was a pro. He could crack up the set laughing with two words and then drop right into character. He was about as cool as they come. It still breaks my heart he's gone.
BUG: Duncan's role is somewhat small compared to some of the other roles; was this in the script, or did his death affect the filming?
MO: It was written as a small role, and I guess I just never imagined that we would get him to play the part. He passed away after we finished filming.
BUG: For such a taut thriller, the last quarter of the film is very bloody. What was your thinking in structuring the horror in such a manner?
MO: It was difficult to write the film as it is. It's a suspenseful horror film and has a slower burn. I tried to keep interest without giving anything away. That's always hard. Most films have the opportunity to get right into it, but because of the story I was forced to keep it from giving away too much. I like all types of horror films, but wanted to do something different and have a strong story with great payoffs. I hope we did that.
BUG: The film has a SOMETIMES THEY COME BACK/PET SEMETARY vibe to it. Were these films influential in making the movie? What other films influence and scare you?
MO: I loved PET SEMETARY, but I didn't even think of it as I was writing it. I imagine we're influenced by whatever we do see subconsciously or not in some way, but I don't try to be like anything. I really loved scary movies growing up. John Carpenter has always been a favorite of mine: the first HALLOWEEN, THE THING...THE EXORCIST messed me up for months, as did THE SHINING. Now I'll see anything Rob Zombie does, Eli Roth's movies were great and Rami is always fun. I appreciated the PARANORMAL movies. Pretty clever.
BUG: Last chance: why should AICN readers check out A RESURRECTION?
MO: I would say this movie is worth a look because it is so different from the common low budget slasher type films--it's creepy and has a very "real" quality to it. We wanted to break that mold. You have to pay attention when you're watching. We didn't water it down and treat the audience like idiots--there's stuff in there you have to think about.
BUG: Thanks, Matt, for your time. Look for A RESURRECTION, available on DVD this week!
Below the trailer is my review of the film.
New this week on DVD (Find this film on Netflix here)!
A RESURRECTION (2012)Directed by Matt Orlando
Written by Matt Orlando
Starring Mischa Barton, Devon Sawa, Michael Clarke Duncan, and J. Michael Trautmann
Find out more about this film here on Facebook here
Reviewed by Ambush Bug
Though the film has its faults, A RESURRECTION turns out to be gritty enough to earn my recommendation, mainly because of some ballsy moves in the last half. The film tackles some tough issues regarding how death is accepted by those left living, and in many ways felt more akin to PET SEMETARY than anything else.
With a cast of capable actors and actresses, A RESURRECTION proves to be an effective little precautionary tale about bullies, retribution and death. Devon Sawa plays a cop married to a school guidance counselor, Mischa Barton, both of whom are involved from different angles in the investigation involving the death of a local boy. Though still somewhat youthful, Sawa doesn’t do a bad job as the cop investigating weird happenings in the area (including being witness to a bunch of hill folks making short work out of some roadkill in what looks to be a witchy sort of manner). Most of the action, though, happens in a school. Mischa Barton’s character works at as she counsels the dead boy’s little brother (J. Michael Trautmann), who swears he is still alive and ready to avenge his death at the hands of preppie bullies. Trautmann is less believable as he tries to play the angry kid, to an extent that is somewhat comical.
The real action in A RESURRECTION occurs when the school bullies are locked in a room after being rounded up for investigation. The perps are trapped in the room as they witness someone or something tearing apart the people outside of the room and are forced to wonder whether their thoughts that they got away with the crime are premature. This makes for some tense moments, and the actors playing the teens aren’t half bad, though most of them feel more like twentysomethings rather than teens.
This leads to a pretty gory last half hour of the film, which ups the coolness a notch. As the lines between the natural and the supernatural blur, the mystery deepens as to what really is going on. I don’t want to reveal it here, but things get red and not everyone (in fact, hardly anyone) walks out of this alive.
I didn’t flip for this film, but I also didn’t hate it. The backwoods mysticism and gritty gore made the whole thing digestible for me. Those looking for Michael Clarke Duncan to shine in this, his final role, will have to look elsewhere since he plays the school principal who only has a scant few scenes in this film, but still, A RESURRECTION held up with some nice tension and gore.
Ambush Bug is Mark L. Miller, original @$$Hole/wordslinger/writer of wrongs/reviewer/interviewer/editor of AICN COMICS for over 12 years & AICN HORROR for 3. He has written comics such as VINCENT PRICE PRESENTS THE TINGLERS & WITCHFINDER GENERAL, THE DEATHSPORT GAMES, & NANNY & HANK (soon to be made into a feature film from Uptown 6 Films). He has co-written FAMOUS MONSTERS OF FILMLAND’s LUNA: ORDER OF THE WEREWOLF (to be released in 2013 as a 100-pg original graphic novel). Mark wrote the critically acclaimed GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK from Zenescope Entertainment & GRIMM FAIRY TALES #76-81. Look for GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS THE JUNGLE BOOK: LAST OF THE SPECIES available in February-July 2013 and the new UNLEASHED crossover miniseries GRIMM FAIRY TALES PRESENTS WEREWOLVES: THE HUNGER #1-3 available in May-July 2013! Follow Ambush Bug on the Twitter @Mark_L_Miller.
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