5.18.2008

The Recovered (2007)

DIRECTED BY
Jay Bauman & Mike Stoklasa

STARRING
Tina Krause - Beverley Sloan
Douglas W. Rose - Business Man
Ben Budd - Will
Riv Tyler - Monty
Chris Wade - Funeral Home Director
Diana Penglase - Little Beverley


Year - 2007

Score - 2.5 Howls Outta 4


Have you ever experienced something in your past that was so bad that you still have trouble dealing with it as an adult? It eats away at you. Everything you do or everyone you meet reminds you of it. You can’t run away from it. Not even therapy or any amount of pills can help. What do you do? How do you get over this nightmare of a life?

If you’re like the main character from The Recovered, the answers may be worse than the questions.

PLOT
Beverley Sloan (Tina Krause) is not a happy woman. She doesn’t smile. She’s pretty much lifeless and going through the motions. She receives weird phone calls that are nothing but white noise. Even though her husband Will (Benjamin Budd) dismisses these calls as if they’re from telemarketers, Beverley just grows more paranoid by the calls - to the point where she drowns herself in a variety of prescription pills. Are these calls from a stalker? A ghost? The I.R.S.? Beverley doesn’t know.

Suddenly, she leaves home to head back to her hometown due to her mother’s passing. She has trouble deciding the right funeral for her mom because she hasn’t seen her in 15 years for a reason that’s bothering her. Her relationship with her mother was so bad that she can’t even remember her mother’s favorite color or even dare to sleep in her mother’s bed. What happened between them?

Beverley seems unsure of it herself. Although once back in her hometown, she has flashes of memory about a creepy businessman (Douglas W. Rose) when she was a child. Did this man do something to her when she was younger? Why can’t she get this man out of her head? Is it guilt that’s messing her up? Or is it something much more…otherworldly?

REVIEW
The Recovered isn’t so much of a horror movie as it is a psychological drama about a woman who, for whatever reason, can’t come to terms about a bothersome past that she doesn’t seem to remember all that well. It’s more of a study on how repression and fear can destroy a human being.

Beverley is not a well woman at all. She looks sleepy all the time. She twitches and has really weird hallucinations and dreams. Her appearance is disheveled, as her makeup doesn’t seem to be put on right and she’s constantly pale for whatever reason. She burns photos of her and her mother that seem to come back and haunt her later in the film. She needs pills to maintain her sanity, yet they don’t really seem to help. Tina Krause, who’s usually cast for her beauty and willingness to strip, does a good job acting as a really disturbed woman who doesn’t understand why. From the moment we see her in her daily life, we know the character is troubled through Krause’s facial expressions and body language. When she practically BEGS the funeral director to handle the funeral because she has no idea what her mother would’ve wanted displays a vulnerability and helplessness that Krause flawlessly portrays in her performance. And she has great reaction shots to the supernatural things that happen once she’s back in her mother’s house. I really enjoyed her performance and she’s the glue that keeps the film together. All the other actors didn’t do much and are just there to help move Beverley’s story along and show that her relationships with people haven’t been great since her traumatic childhood.

Directors/writers/producers Mike Stoklasa and Jay Bauman use their short budget to create a really mesmerizing, if not somewhat confusing, tale of psychological terror. We get a lot of close-ups, dark lighting, and hallucination and dream sequences that are darkly distorted and somewhat confusing. There’s one where Beverley is trapped in a wooden box she can’t seem to get out of, and another sequence where the evil Business Man ties her up and does something with a razor blade that Jigsaw from the Saw films would be proud of. I kept asking myself, “What the hell is going on?” But I think that was the point because not even Beverley understood what was going on with her. Stoklasa and Bauman create a personal link between Beverley and the audience where we find out things along with her, making the audience feel as if they’re part of the story.

The special effects done by Dixie Jacobs, Niki Rose, and Tina Krause herself are good for a low-budget film. There’s barely any gore or blood until the end of the film, but when there it is, it looks realistic. The make-up on Beverley’s dead mom and dad were pretty cool too. And the vein pulling scene during the Saw sequence is pretty disturbing. Very well-done job overall.

My only complaint is the ending to the film. It just didn’t do anything for me. I was more confused than satisfied as to how everything wrapped up. I mean, I think I understand what happened but at the same time, I’m not really sure. I guess I prefer my endings to be a bit simplier.

THINGS I'VE LEARNED FROM WATCHING THIS FILM

1. Going through the motions can be really depressing. That’s strange. It looked like so much fun in that Buffy the Vampire Slayer musical episode!

2. Beverley is a pill popper. With all the drugs she has, she’d make a great living as a street pharmacist!

3. Beverley had to decide whether to bury or cremate her mother. I would want to be cremated. I don’t want maggots eating me. I’m not Paris Hilton!

4. Some people just want to forget any memory of the past by burning old pictures. Oscar de la Hoya wishes he had that luxury. Nice fishnet stockings, buddy!

5. The Business Man tells young Beverley that “we all die and being sad doesn’t change that.” He obviously didn’t read “How To Raise Happy & Sane Children…For Dummies.”

6. Naming your hamster Houdini is ridiculous. Just because he can run inside a wheel doesn’t mean he’s a magician.

7. Kicking a locked chest isn’t gonna open it. I heard keys do the trick these days…

8. If you’re not mentally stable, flushing your pills isn’t usually the logical step. Call me crazy, but that’s just my personal opinion!

9. The Business Man likes to cut Beverley’s arms. Talk about a razor-sharp experience!

10. In a bar, Beverley got a clue from words written on her table that read: “This is not my beautiful house…” Who knew “Once in a Lifetime” by The Talking Heads would be therapeutic?

THE FINAL HOWL
The Recovered
is a pretty good low-budget supernatural psychological “horror” film. Tina Krause does a good job as the lead and the direction is pretty much solid. The story is also interesting, yet confusing at the same time. The closest film I could think of to this is Sarah Michelle Gellar’s The Return. I didn’t like that film but I did like this one. If you like the surreal in your film cereal bowl, check out The Recovered.

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