Hey y’all, Barbarella here. I love a good genre film, so when I heard about RECOVERY, I jumped at the opportunity to check it out. I mean, what horror fan would want to miss a slasher film that takes place in a women’s drug treatment facility? Ronnie Price (Stephanie Pearson), female war hero and PTSD-sufferer-turned-addict, gets mandated to attend treatment. Not long after her arrival, a mysterious killer begins picking off residents of the facility forcing them to battle more than just their addictions.
John Liang’s film gets released digitally, in-stores, and on demand in both the U.S. and Canada June 4, 2019, and it’s something a little different from the norm. While some of the acting proves a bit forced, Stephanie Pearson’s performance makes up for it. She broods with the best of them, putting Game of Throne’s Jon Snow to shame.
Having been on several tours in Afghanistan, Ronnie returns home and struggles to find a sense of purpose while being haunted by her war experiences. I appreciate the film’s exploration into veterans and drug abuse, and I would have loved an even deeper dig into this area. I also enjoy wrapping my brain around the fact that the decorated war hero is a female. Yes, women have fought in Afghanistan, and while I don’t necessarily think that every male role should be replaced with a female, I find the dynamic refreshing, and to be honest, a little more interesting. Stephanie Pearson’s performance conveys both a vulnerability and an anger that seemingly torments her.
RECOVERY also takes a look at addiction in a more general sense. I would’ve liked to have spent more time with the different patients, delving into the depths of their issues and relationships. It seems the writers, John Liang, and Scott Rashap, missed some opportunities here to really explore the human side of struggling with one’s demons. Not to say they didn’t explore it at all, but it seems that they could have done more. Some characters feel too much like the cookie-cutter version of an addict which contrasts sharply to the ones who feel more complex and conflicted. I would have liked all the characters to have been as well thought out as the leads, but, like any standard slasher film, many characters in it are really just bodies to be slaughtered. Why bother wasting time developing them when you’re just going to kill them off later? I also understand that spending too much time poking into the minds of a variety of characters could potentially derail the pacing and detract from the film’s enjoyment factor. However, I believe in this case, having a few more patients’ issues explored more deeply could have created a far more emotionally powerful response to events that later transpire.
The only other character with an intriguing backstory is Dr. Jessica Barnes (Hope Quattrocki), a newer psychiatrist at the facility who really wants to help war veterans because she understands their sacrifice. Aside from Ronnie and her, we get snippets of information about other patients and staff at the facility, some through ridiculous means. For example, a therapist would never explain a patient’s issues to another patient in the real world, but in movies, it seems an effective way to give some information without actually having to film something to otherwise convey it.
But the average horror fan probably doesn’t care about why this therapist is violating doctor-patient confidentiality. Instead, the average horror fan probably cares more about the kills. The kills are not too over-the-top, and they are well-done and realistic. Editor Griffin Devine also enhances the fight sequences with some really effective editing. One scene, in particular, makes me want to re-watch it.
Sometimes independent films do some really cool stuff, and RECOVERY is no exception. Is the film going to blow minds? Probably not. But, it tackles some interesting topics not often addressed in cinema, and it’s generally entertaining.