August 7, 2019 Blindsided (Movie Review)
Canada has been an enormous output of low budget Horror films for almost 50 years now. Dating all the way back to the ’70s when a young director named David Cronenberg was making a name for himself cranking out films like 1975’s Shivers, 1976’s Rabid, and 1979’s The Brood. Ever since Cronenberg opened the flood gates, fans have gotten endless films… all produced via Canadian resources. That said, it is nice to see director and co-writer Johnny Mitchell keeping that flame going with his debut Horror film Blindsided, which comes to DVD and digital on Tuesday, August 13th through Uncork’d Entertainment.
Also known as Darker Than Night, the film follows Sloan Carter (Bea Santos: Murdoch Mysteries series, True Detective series), a young girl who has recently been blinded. Her father, Dr. David Carter Paul (Popowich: Degrassi: The Next Generation series, Hemlock Grove series) leaves for the weekend and her two best friends Toby (Erik Knudsen: Scott Pilgrim vs. the World 2010, Scream 4 2011) and Mika (Melinda Shankar: Slasher series, Filth City series) both returning home from University, keep her company.
A protege of her father, Tom (Atticus Mitchell: My Babysitter’s a Vampire series, Killjoys series), passing through town, also spends the night. Then the peaceful weekend is interrupted by a shadowy threat and the safe country getaway turns into a fight for survival.
Blindsided is a film that was wisely designed within its budgeted framework – one night, secluded location, minimal characters. Perfect for a director’s first feature film, there is definitely some promise for Director Johnny Mitchell throughout Blindsided despite it being a bit run of the mill. The performances are far more natural and solid than you would expect from a film like this. For example, Bea Santos is quite believable playing a blind woman and never makes it feel forced. There are also some great use of practical effects, genuine moments of suspense, and the photography is also a bit above the typical low grade photography you are used to seeing in cheap Horror films.
Mitchell and his co-writers Brandon Tataryn and Brad Wetherly do a nice job of setting up all the principal characters which you get to know through relatable dialogue and interactions. However, some might find the friends slightly annoying at times, but in a way that makes it a bit more realistic. Also, with the exception of only a handful of films in the genre, most Horror films in the vein of something like Blindsided contain annoying characters. It is as if it is part of the package so that when they show their vulnerability upon survival mode, it flips the audience upside down and oddly gets you to sympathize with them.
Despite being a lean 81 minutes, the pace of Blindsided becomes slightly meandering in the middle act which is not uncommon at all with low budget Horror films. All this in mind, there are plenty of cliched tropes and typical conventions of a standard paint by numbers Horror film here, but sometimes we need films in the genre that are not trying to reinvent the wheel. Too many Horror flicks out there tries so hard to be overly complex and original when in fact fans at the end of the day just want a movie that delivers the groceries.
So check out Blindsided when it comes out with moderate expectations and you might be pleasantly surprised. That is why Cryptic Rock gives this movie 3.5 out of 5 stars.