Director - Thomas L. Phillips (Special Dead)
Starring - Sasha Ramos (Sex Drive), Erin Cline (Joe Vampire), and Emily Rogers (The Devil Incarnate)
Release Date - 2012
Genre - Horror/Thriller
Tagline - "It's one hot mess"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)
Rating (out of 5):
Several years back I was in college. Between drinking Hurricanes and shots of Jameson, I would go to class and then spend my evenings doing class work while I watch movies. I could easily manage three or four movies in an evening while slowly working on my class load. I had met several people while there and a few were avid horror fans like myself and one introduced me to the indie horror comedy Special Dead. I fucking loved this low-brow comedy with tasteless humor and at the time it was a breath of fresh air to see a zombie flick in the sea of vampire films. Recently, Midnight Releasing sent me the horror thriller Sanctuary: Quite the Conundrum which was directed by Thomas L. Phillips who also directed Special Dead. I was excited to check this one out so as soon as I had a chance to check it out I tossed it in.
When I realized that the same director of Special Dead was behind Sanctuary I was curious. Special Dead offered up some Troma style humor that really made for a great slapstick-esque flick. However, once I looked at the cover art for Sanctuary I quickly realized that this was not the same kind of film I had once seen when I was in college and I was right. The acting in this one is not consistent. The first portion of the film is unbearable. The film's two leading lady act so stupid around each other that you almost want to put your fingers in your ears so far that you make yourself bleed. As the film progresses they start to act like it is a film and start pulling their characters together about the film's half way point. It is then that their pull it around and the acting turns great and we can finally sit down and enjoy the film. The remainder of the cast does a great job as well supporting these two ladies by this point which may be the reason it picks up. The story for this one is a little unconventional in a sense but is still fun to watch. The film feels like a horror film that tries hard to be a thriller but has several comical points tossed in that do not get the laughs they are intended for. These laughs go unnoticed due to the tension of the film. The story itself is fairly original but has a hard time finding it's footing. Finally, the film has three on screen deaths. The first is fantastic and really come unexpectedly while the other two are very lackluster and are very much a let down. Overall, Sanctuary: Quite the Conundrum is a film that has a solid story that really surprises the viewer but does not feel like a real horror flick. Check it out because it is well worth a watch.