Neverlake and The Taking of Deborah Logan are currently available on instant Netflix
Neverlake (2012) – Not Rated
“A teen visiting her estranged father in Italy stumbles upon the Neverlake, an ancient body of water said to be guarded by the spirits of the dead.”
I sit through so much dreck. I watch so many horror movies that are just copies of other horror movies that themselves are also copies. Every once in a while a nice, refreshing change of pace comes around which recharges me enough to sit through more dreck. Neverlake is a refresher.
Neverlake is more in the model of a dark fairy tale than a straight out horror movie. The backstory and general plotting are well thought out, even if the final script could use some tweaking. I found the reveal and third act to be very satisfying.
Daisy Keeping is quite good as our teen in peril, Jenny. She is compelling enough to drag us through some of the laggier bits in the middle of the movie. Unfortunately the other children aren’t nearly as good. David Brandon, who plays Jenny’s father, Dr. Brook is a bit bland but that works in regards to the story.
The natural locations in Italy are quite lovely but could certainly be used to better effect. For a low budget film, Neverlake is quite good and I particularly appreciated that it had a good story to tell.
The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014) – Rated R
“For her Ph.D. thesis, Mia decides to film a woman’s Alzheimer’s battle, but when symptoms turn strange, the family suspects something more sinister.”
Ugh. Why? Why do we have to have nine out of every ten low-budget horror movies be a found footage film. I would be happy to track down the found footage ‘guy’ and drive a stake through his unbeating heart. As you might guess, this includes The Taking of Deborah Logan.
The found footage concept adds nothing to this movie and does not actually make the filming of this any cheaper. It allows for a few minor jump scares but really says that the director, Adam Robitel was not confident enough in his handling of the material or, for some reason, believed that it was necessary. The found footage aspect actually detracted from the film in several scenes, including ones that appeared to be direct ripoffs of the inexplicably popular Paranormal Activity series.
Having typed that, there is much to like about The Taking of Deborah Logan. The students filming the everyday life of an Alzheimer’s patient and her daughter appear to be just that. The film certainly portrays a much more realistic and believable portrayal of Alzheimer’s than Deep Blue Sea.
Acting from the crew is just okay but Anne Ramsay is quite good as the long-suffering daughter, Sarah. Jill Larson really sells the film as our titular Alzheimer’s (or is it?) patient, Deborah Logan (even though Jill isn’t really old enough to be Anne’s mother, so kudos to the makeup people as well).
Writing is above par for this type of endeavor. In addition to the meaningful Alzheimer’s related details in the first two acts, there is a significant backstory, gradually revealed amid the found footage shenanigans.
If you can stand sitting through one more found footage film, The Taking of Deborah Logan will fit the bill. It isn’t great but is certainly worth a watch.