PopCultHQ.com was given an advance screener for an upcoming film.
Here’s PopCultHQ’s Spoiler-Free Review of…
Directed by: John Liang
Written by: John Liang, Scott Rashap
Producer: Alyssa Devine
Director Of Photography: Olivia Kuan
Editing: Griffin Devine
Art Director: Carlos Osorio
Score by: Ryan Barnes & Nathan Patterson
Distributor: SP Releasing
Starring: Stephanie Pearson, Hope Quattrocki, Liz Fenning, Aily Kei, Mike Starr
Release Date: June 4th, 2019 in the U.S. and Canada in-stores, digitally, and on demand.
USA / 2019 / Horror / Color / 87 min
Dr. Jessica Barnes, an idealistic, wet-behind-the-ears treatment psychiatrist is told to make Ronnie Price her personal project. A decorated war hero in Afghanistan, Ronnie suffers from severe PTSD, hallucinations, and blackouts that often result in acts of violence. Jessica is determined to provide Ronnie with the care that she believes veterans deserve and don’t often receive. This immediately proves difficult, as on day one, Ronnie blacks out and brutally attacks, Beth, another patient. The facility director Dr. Taylor plans to discharge her, but Jessica convinces him to give her one more chance.Ronnie uses up this chance and then some, when she attacks Meg, another patient. But before Dr. Taylor can discharge Ronnie, a massive blizzard traps her and the staff in the facility. Meanwhile, she begins to forge connections with two of the patients: Katherine, in her late teens, semi-catatonic, whose life has been ravaged by decades of addiction, who requires help to merely get food into her mouth, gives Ronnie a sense of purpose, and Meg, whose willingness to forgive her earlier attack, and acts of kindness toward Ronnie and devotion to her own wife, Dana (also in treatment), gives her a sense of hope.But Ronnie’s optimistic outlook does not last long. When Beth is found dead, clearly murdered, Ronnie is immediately thought to be guilty, an accusation that she herself believes to be true. Lacking any evidence and with tensions in the facility set to explode, the patients are all sequestered in their individual rooms as they wait for the police to arrive. While in isolation, two more are killed. Ronnie claims to have been taking care of Katherine during this time, which Katherine does not have the faculties to confirm or deny. Dr. Taylor and another patient are also killed, but the surviving patients and staff witness the murder and finally see who the killer is: Meg, who it turns out is in treatment for more than just an addiction to heroin. With Dana’s help, Meg then sets out to kill everyone in the facility and blame the massacre on Ronnie.The patients and Jessica band together, hoping to stay alive long enough for the police to arrive, but as withdrawal sets in, trust quickly collapses within the group. As Dana and Meg kill the remaining patients one by one, Ronnie accepts leadership of the survivors, and volunteers to face them down. She fatally wounds Dana, finding herself feeling a familiar exhilaration that she hasn’t felt since the war. Meg, crazy with grief, attacks Ronnie, and after a long, brutal battle, Jessica helps Ronnie finally kill Meg. However, Ronnie is fatally wounded and with her dying breath, asks Jessica to take care of Katherine. In the final scene, we see a much-improved Katherine in a new facility being treated and helped by Jessica. Both of them have been changed by their experience and their knowing Ronnie, who gave her life to save them.
PopCultHQ’s Spoiler-Free Review:
Thanks to a blizzard (and their apparently isolated location) a group of drug rehab patients and their doctors are trapped in the facility while someone takes them out, one at a time. Due to recent events, all eyes turn to Ronnie as the killer. But is she?
Ronnie Barnes is a decorated Afghanistan vet who suffers from severe PTSD, hallucinations, and blackouts that often result in acts of violence. Dr. Jessica Barnes is the psychiatrist who sees beyond the violence and wants to treat the person. The facility director, Dr. Taylor, only sees Ronnie as a violent, drug-addicted danger to his other patients.
This movie addresses several issues regarding veterans that frequently get disregarded, such as PTSD, the sense of isolation, and disassociation with society. It also addresses the lack of mental care for returning veterans.
The movie uses a variation of a standard horror movie trope. It’s an isolated mountainous location and bad weather prevents anyone from escaping or coming to their rescue. Instead of a mental institution, they are at a drug rehabilitation facility.
I enjoyed the filming style and how the close-up scenes gave you a sense of the intimacy and depth of the moment. The flashing lights and sudden sound change gave you an insight into Ronnie’s flashes and blackouts. Each time she recovers from a blackout, another person suffered injury at her hands, so it’s not hard to see why everyone thinks she is the murderer.
The movie starts slow and moves slow, and I frequently found myself asking, “why do they only have three staff members?” The Chief of Staff, the psychiatrist, and what I think is a guard, seem to be the only members of staff. I neither saw, nor heard, mention of nurses, swing shifts, janitorial staff, or grounds crew.
It isn’t until about halfway that anything exciting happens, and the ‘thriller’ part of the film is closer to the end. Overall, I would call this more of a thriller flick than a horror.
I have to give this a 3 out of 5 rating.
KEY CAST BIOGRAPHIES
STEPHANIE PEARSON (RONNIE PRICE)
Stephanie Pearson is an American actress born in Los Angeles, California. She was born to Lee and Lisa Pearson who both worked in television production, inspiring Stephanie to pursue acting at a young age. Amassing a long list of international ad campaigns, Stephanie gained her professionalism on set shooting commercials with directors such as Tony Kaye. Stephanie spent time working and living overseas shooting print ads in Japan, Thailand, and Mexico.
Stephanie attended Loyola Marymount University where she pivoted to theatrical acting after studying Chekhov technique. One of Stephanie’s first film roles was in Shane Black’s ‘Kiss Kiss Bang Bang’ followed by a slew of television guest star roles for shows in including ‘The Young and The Restless’, ‘Medium’, ‘Rizzoli and Isles’, ‘Ray Donovan’ and ‘Murder in the First’. Stephanie has become somewhat of a scream queen, having been killed on screen in nearly half of all of her roles including James Wan’s ‘Insidious: Chapter 2’. Stephanie can be seen as Keren in Ryuhei Kitamura’s
‘Downrange’ which premiered at Toronto International Film Festival.
HOPE QUATTROCKI (DR. JESSICA BARNES)
Hope Quattrocki is an American actress born in Chicago, Illinois. She was an avid athlete until suffering a serious concussion that forced her to quit sports. Aching to find a new hobby she auditioned for a play and was bit by the acting bug. Hope graduated from high school a year early and moved from West Lafayette, Indiana to Los Angeles to begin pursuing her passion.
Hope is currently wholeheartedly building her body of work with various credits from shorts films, theatre productions and her most recent role in John Liang’s horror feature film ‘Recovery’ as Dr. Jessica Barnes.
LIZ FENNING (MEG CHARLES)
Liz Fenning studied at the University of Rome (Village Experience-Commedia Del Arte Intensive,) the Groundlings School, and Carnegie Mellon University. Her stage credits include: Virginia Stage Company, the Rauh Theater (Pittsburgh-Post Gazette Best Supporting Actress Award,) Theatre Unleashed (Scenie Award,) Bread & Puppet Theater Company, Echo Theater Company (Ovation Nominated), Inner Circle Theater, Theater Elysium, Rogue Artists Ensemble, and the Pasadena Playhouse.
Liz has appeared in HBO’s Califonication, Atlantic Rim 2, Lady Macbeth in the Wilderness,Funny or Die’s The Seth and Avi Show, Amazon’s Ghost Hunters, The Living, Deadly Alibi, LIONSGATE’S The Ghostmaker, Lifetime’s Sinister Minister, To Whom it May Concern, WQED’s Just for You, Amazon’s OMG,..We’re in a Horror Movie, SyFy’s Flight 666, Fuseli, and Nightmare. She’s served as a live host ing for MSNBC and Steam Tv, done clowning for Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza, serves as Program Supervisor for Actors for Autism, and most recently, starred in the teaser for The Sickness, with executive producer, Clive Barker and Recovery, with Director John Liang.
AILY KEI (KATHERINE)
Aily Kei is a half-Japanese actress born and raised in Tokyo, Japan, and graduated Oberlin College with degrees in Theater and Politics. She will be making a guest appearance in the upcoming season of FOX’s The Orville (2019), and you can currently watch her in Matthew Libatique’s directorial short film debut, A Different Beyond. Other film credits include: Red Paint (dir. Andrew Rodriquez), Reno (dir. Sean Bradley), and Point of No Return (Fyusion Inc). Some of her favorite theatre credits include: A Good Neighbor (Berkeley Repertory Theatre Ground Floor), whisper fish (Bay Area Playwrights Festival), Top Girls (Shotgun Players), and Hookman (Z Space). Proud member of SAG and an associate artist at Encore Theatre Company (Z Space).
MIKE STARR (DR. TAYLOR)
Mike Starr was born on July 29, 1950 in Queens, New York City, New York, USA as Michael Edward Starr. He is an actor, known for Ed Wood (1994), Dumb and Dumber (1994) and Goodfellas (1990).