This feels like a movie that Brian De Palma dropped out of at the very last moment and got picked up by another and lesser known director, who had less money to spend and no big name actors to work with.
On the one hand I truly admire the attempt and I really feel like praising the movie but on the other, it just isn't an entirely successful or effective movie as a whole.
By saying this movie feels and looks like a Brian De Palma movie, most people will already know that this means that it's a mystery-thriller, in the style of an old fashioned Hitchcock movie. Now, I'll always have a soft-spot for De Palma's movies but I'm also the first to admit that his movies of course are watered-down Hitchcock movies, that may feature the same style and tropes as a Hitchcock classic but are nowhere in the same league as well, despite the fact that I absolutely love some of De Palma's work. The same can all be said about this movie as well. I admire all of the effort, craftsmanship and eye for detail that went into it but in the end it's still a watered down Brian De Palma movie, which in itself already is a watered down version of a Alfred Hithcock movie. So with all that 'deluting' going on, is there still enough substance to this movie? Sure, it's still a good and watchable movie but I wouldn't call it a great one.
The movie keeps changing directions, which is typical for these type of movies but this one is doing it a bit too often in my opinion. The one moment it's about one thing, the next it's about something totally different again and it's focusing on some other characters as well. It's actually hard to talk abut this movie and not spoil anything about it, since there is a new twist and turn in the story, every 20 other minutes or so.
At times the movie is a true mystery, in which we as the viewers don't even exactly know what's going on and what direction the story will be taking. In that regard this also truly is one of those movies that's best to watch going in cold, without knowing anything at all about the movie. That way most of the surprises shall work out as truly surprising as well to you and you'll probably enjoy and appreciate it more. It's still annoying though how little information the movie is giving you at times. A movie can definitely be too mysterious for its own good and I feel that that's the case with this movie as well at parts. It's hard to feel involved and invested with the story and characters of the movie, when you don't know what's going on exactly and where the movie is heading at. You also really don't know what characters to trust anymore after a while, since nothing is what it at first seems like. This especially becomes a problem during the second half of the movie, that was slightly overdoing things in my opinion.
Yet, it's obvious that I really don't feel that this movie works out very well all of the time. Next to the already earlier mentioned problems I have with this movie, it's also a needlessly slow and dragged out one. The movie is 2 hours long but it easily could and should have been 20 minutes shorter, to make things flow better and for the movie to come quicker to its point at parts, which was really necessarily in my opinion.
It's also really a movie that relies heavily on the acting, that's all about the dynamics between the different characters and the dialog, that propels the movie forward. Now, I'm not saying that the actors in this movie are terrible but they aren't exactly of the right caliber to ever turn the movie into a truly great one and for things to ever work out as anything convincing or engaging enough. I would have loved to have seen this movie with some better and also better known actors involved!
After all that criticism it may sound like a weird thing to say but despite everything, it's still very obvious to me that Zack Parker is one brilliant, very promising director. The way he attempts to tell the story and build things up like makes it obvious that this is a person who really knows what he is doing and has a clear vision of what he wants to achieve with his movies and how to achieve it, with plenty of creativity and originality involved. Not all of it works out but I have a feeling that's also really due to budget- and other restraints, that were out of his control. I'm really interested to see what Zack Parker would be capable of when given a bigger budget and some better actors to work with.
Not a great movie but definitely still a perfectly watchable one, especially if you are in the mood for something 'different'.