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Infliction is a found footage horror from writer/director Jack Thomas Smith (Disorder) that claims to be the actual footage of a murder spree committed in 2011 in the state of North Carolina but, never seems anything but a staged movie. The story has brothers John (Jason Mac) and Kenny (Elliot Armstrong) going on a vendetta fueled killing spree and they have decided to document the whole thing as they torment and murder their victims…all for what they see as wrongs committed against them. And that’s basically it.
The main problem with this film is the same problem that haunted Smith’s Disorder, scenes just ramble on and the dialogue keeps covering the same ground. The pace of the film is incredibly slow and its gets quite tedious as the two siblings voice their grievances with each of their bound victims and then brutally slaughter them. Between the murder scenes, we get long dialogue exchanges with the two waxing philosophical about their actions with them usually arriving at the opinion that their vengeance is just…and they do this after each and every victim. The final confrontation with their sister and parents makes the film feel far longer than the 100 minute running time that it actually is. The reason for their bloody revenge is also kind of weak when we slowly…and I do mean slowly…get the whole story as to why they are stalking seemingly random victims, who are actually connected to the two, leading up to the confrontation with their family. The reason makes sense but, isn’t overly interesting and we’ve seen it all before. The acting across the board is very wooden and when mixed with the endless rambling dialogue sequences, makes this quite a chore to sit through. Add to this that the film never feels like actual footage, no matter how much random static is used, and appears like exactly what it is, stiffly staged sequences. It all amounts to very little here to warrant sitting through this. Very disappointing considering the peeks of promise Smith’s last film showed.
While Disorder was flawed but showed promise, this dull flick seems like more of a step back. It’s got a ho-hum plot as an excuse to film some torment/murder sequences that are sandwiched between long dialogue sequences. And these sequences basically keep hammering home the already obvious point, that these two are damaged and want to blame/punish everyone involved for what they see as injustices done to them. The also have the brazen audacity to blame everyone else for their homicidal behavior, as well. They are the whiniest serial killers to be captured on film…by their own hands…in quite some time. Also stars Ana Shaw, Catherine Trail and Don Henderson Baker as their sister, mother and father respectively.
Disorder is a psychological thriller that reminded me a lot of Psycho II with it’s story of David Randall (Darren Kendrick) a schizophrenic who was convicted of a brutal double murder, that he has always claimed innocence of, and now has been released and returned to his home town to try to start a new life. He even has a job at a local diner and has a crush on pretty co-worker, the widowed Melissa (Lauren Seikaly) much like Norman Bates in that film. Also, like that 1983 film, there seems to be someone trying to mess with Randall as a masked figure keeps appearing and David witnesses him kill yet, no evidence of foul play or bodies can be found. His psychiatrist Dr. Magruder (Sean Eager) feels he is hallucinating, but David thinks there is some fiend out there trying to frame him, the same fiend who framed him for the previous two murders and worse still, he feels that Melissa is in danger as well. Is there really some villain out there framing David for their foul deeds, or is it all in the disturbed man’s mind?
Despite some glaring similarities to that 80s cult classic sequel, Disorder is actually a well made enough thriller from writer/director Jack Thomas Smith. Smith does have a simple but effective visual style and gives us an involving enough thriller with some nice suspense and mystery. The film only falters with a very slow pace caused by scenes that go on a bit too long and a bit of a repetitiveness especially later on where we feel we’ve already sat through certain scenes already. That and a sort of double reveal climax where first we see the perception of what happened and then replay it as it actually happened. On it’s own it would be fine, but with an already slow pace and certain sequences that seem to go on too long, it becomes a bit tedious in it’s last act. Smith needs to be a bit more deft in his editing. This flick could have been about 10-15 minutes shorter and run more smoothly and more briskly. The scenes involving David’s mother (Ruthanne Gereghty) could have been removed altogether and not sacrificed much. That and, of course the Psycho II similarities which stood out to a film geek like me. Smith does show some potential though and I look forward to his next film Infliction to see how he’s progressed as a filmmaker.
The cast are decent. Kendrick is a bit monotone, though as a disturbed person it does make him sort of creepy yet sympathetic, so it’s not damaging. Lauren Seikaly is the liveliest of the cast making her Melissa a sad but optimistic young woman who is willing to give people the benefit of the doubt. Thomas Ruderstaller plays Danny, a friend of Melissa’s whose a bit obsessed with her and very wary of David. Ruderstaller gives him a creepy persona and we never quite trust him and maybe we shouldn’t. Rounding out are Gereghty who is fine as David’s mother, Eager who is satisfactory as a typical psychiatrist trying to help David make his transition back to a normal life and Alan Samulski who is a bit flat as the local Sheriff, who is a family friend of David and is Danny’s father. A decent cast when all is said and done.
Overall, I liked Disorder to a degree. It has it’s flaws and is very similar to things seen before. But it also can be effective and director/writer Smith shows promise behind the camera. He has a new film on the way and we shall see if he lives up to that promise.
Rated 2 and 1/2 (out of 4) disturbed Davids.