Director - Joel Vallie (Corazon de Campeon)
Starring - Kaelin Stockwell (God's Not Dead), Benjamin Chamberlain (Uncensored Hollywood), and Kristen Barrett (Return to the Hiding Place)
Release Date - 2016
Genre - Horror/Thriller
Tagline - "Ben's mind is damaged, his memories are worse"
Format - DVD (Personal Collection) (Screener)
Rating (out of 5):
I am the worst person to judge a book or film by it's cover. Most of the time I go into a movie with preconceived notions of what I am going to see and if I will like it or not. I get a lot of movies to review and usually judge the film before I see them. This does not affect my review but it does determine how excited I am for a movie when I prepare to watch it. Several weeks back I was sent the film Beautiful Prison to review from my friends over at Midnight Releasing. The film did not look that promising so I put it off as long as I could. When I couldn't put it off any long I went ahead and watched it where I was very surprised by how much I like it.. Thanks guys for sending it my way.
The film follows Ben who works at a plant with his best friend Jerry. His brother in law is his supervisor and is always covering for him when he starts day dreaming while on the job resulting in accidents. Ben was a battered child which is why he is slower than most people after his father hit him too hard. One day Jerry covers for him and is fired. Ben slowly spirals out of control and cant stand the thought of going to work without Jerry. He panics and finds himself getting in an argument with his brother in law who he lives with. He leaves after the argument and is struck by a passing car. He is rushed to the hospital and things get weird. Not long after the accident Ben starts to see strange people and his body starts changing. Soon he realizes that he is in the middle of a zombie apocalypse and has to fight to survive. Then he discovers that he is comatose and all this has been a dream. He then dreams up his perfect fantasy where he gets the girl instead of waking up.
When I first opened the package and saw Beautiful Prison I was under the impression it would be a dark drama or thriller about a mentally unstable man who is haunted by his past. I was dead wrong. Instead, it was a supernatural thriller about a man who is mentally slower than most but is given a way to live the life he has always wanted regardless of his set back. The acting in this one is great. The film's lead, Kaelin Stockwell, was great as Ben. He is kind and sincere when he is in the real world. He plays his handicap perfectly. He then changes gears and turns into a very strong willed man who takes control of his situation. He was brilliant and I can see why he was cast in this role. The remainder of the cast is great as well and really stand toe to toe with Stockwell but their characters are not as developed as this one. The story for this one is fun and very well thought out. The dream world is way more interesting than the real world but the two coming together does cause some confusion. A little tighter writing would have prevented this. Finally, the film has tons of blood. It misses on the gore but has blood spewing everywhere. The effects are great as well and the demons look great as well. The biggest problem I had with the film was the fact that we don't get many cool deaths. In fact, we don't get any at all which makes this horror film feel more like a thriller. Overall, Beautiful Prison is a is a great mixture of thriller and horror. It is beautifully shot and has a great story but was unable to fully developit. Check this one out when you get a chance.