Monday, November 9, 2015



Director - Dustin Mills (Snuffet, Her Name Was Torment)
Starring - Joni Durian (Haunted House on Sorority Row, Applecart), Brandon Salkil (Kill That Bitch, Slimy Little Bastards), and Dave Parker (Headless, The Hornet's Sting and the Hell It's Caused)
Release Date - 2015
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "A new experience in psychoincestual terror"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection)

Rating (out of 5):
     Giallo is a style of Italian horror that blends the slasher sub-genre with the story telling of a mystery.  The film is easily spotted by their use of artistic camera work and lighting with unique colors.  The films may be slow burning but they are visually stunning.  There has been a small movement in recent years with indie filmmakers attempting to capture the style and essence of the giallo.  A year or so ago saw the release of Sonno Profondo and just a few months back Astron 6 hit us with another masterpiece, The Editor.  Early October saw the release of the newest Dustin Mills film Invalid.  Mills was trying his hand at that giallo feel with this film.  I am an avid fan of Mills but giallo isn't my thing.  I wanted to check it out but I was very afraid this would be the first Mills flick that I did not like.  
     Th film follows Agnes (Durian) who is now tasked with taking care of her vegetative brother Andrew (Salkil).  He has been in this state after an accident and his sister is now his only source of care.  She is anxious and feels overwhelmed with the new role life has dealt her but she wants to do everything she can for her brother.  Things turn strange when she starts to hear Andrew in her head and he instructs her to bring him blood.  She obeys and kills returning to her brother with her score.  He is able to move a small portion but soon goes back to being catatonic.  She murders again and this time he is able to move even more and then reveals his love for his sister...a love that transcends brotherly and sisterly love.  She then finds herself in a world full of blood and incestuous love with no idea of what to do next.
     Mills took a break from his Dustin Mills Productions to focus on Crumpleshack.  Crumpleshack is Mills other production company.  These films do not have the polish that the DMP films have.  These films are raw, brutal, and focus more on the underground side of indie horror.  The Crumpleshack films are fun but I really enjoyed the DMP films.  They were more visually pleasing and the stories had a little more depth than those coming from Crumpleshack.  When I heard Invalid was a return to DMP I had to fucking see it.  The acting in this one is fucking fantastic.  We get a phenomenal performance from horror hottie Joni Durian.  Her character is layered and Durian is able to pull that off perfectly.  At first her character is very timid and withdrawn but soon turns into a relentless killer.  Durian was made for this role and that is why she feels so natural in it.  Brandon Salkil is the no budget equivalent to Bill Oberst Jr.   He can adapt to any role and make it his own and this film is no exception.  At first I had a hard time watching him in his unresponsive state bound to the wheelchair but when his character becomes an actual character and not a prop then he delivers one hell of a performance.  His lines reminded me as to why I tell people he is the best in the indie scene.  The film also has a small role from friend and fellow reviewer, Dave Parker.  Dave has been in several of Mills' films along with several others and each film you can see him grow with the experience.  Dave is able to knock it out of the park with this one and shows that he will be a mainstay in the indie horror world.  The story for this one is rather unique for a giallo but the story itself is one that is very similar to a film I had seen in an early 90s thriller that I can no longer remember the name of.  In that film a man is bed bound due to a car accident and his mother cares for him.  Over time she falls in love with her son and starts molesting him while someone is killing the local townsfolk at night.  Mills has an eye for detail and really went the distance at delivering a very convincing giallo.  He uses experimental camera angles along with different lights ranging in color to give us that beautiful look that the classic giallos are known for.  Most of these scenes feel like an authentic giallo while a few others do not.  This does not ruin the film, obviously, but it does pull the viewer out of that mindset.  Finally, the film has several on screen kills that are not that memorable or original.  This kills do fit the story and the giallo style but fans of Mills expect a little more in that department.  The effects are solid as well and I love the color of the blood that Mills went with.  Fans of the original Dawn of the Dead will enjoy that.  Overall, Invalid is one if Mills' strongest efforts yet.  This is another visually stunning film that flirts with the line between movie and art.  The story may lack the mystery that giallos are known for but it does not lack the style.  I highly recommend this one.

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