September 19, 2018 Cynthia (Movie Review)
A mother loves all of her children equally! Young Horror royalty Scout Taylor-Compton leads a cast of some of modern Horror’s greatest in the brand new Horror-Comedy Cynthia, which debuted on Digital and DVD Tuesday, September 18, 2018, thanks to the good folks at Indican Pictures.
We open on Robin (Scout Taylor-Compton: Halloween 2007, Feral 2017) in bed with her husband, Michael (Kyle Jones: Masters of Sex series, The Boonies series), who is admittedly feeling like a turkey-baster with legs. The couple have been struggling through three-years of expensive, arduous infertility treatments and endless bouts of unsexy morning sex, all in the name of siring a new generation. Cheap injections from China are not doing the trick, and Michael is stressed and losing interest – and money.
Magically, the joyous day arrives that Robin finds herself pregnant with their first child. Though, during her second trimester on a routine visit to the golf-obsessed obstetrician’s office (Robert Rhine: Parasites 2016, Dracula in a Women’s Prison 2017), the couple discover that, along with the growing fetus, Robin has a massive fibrous cyst inside her uterus. Only thing is, in the immortal words of Arnold Schwarzenegger, “It’s not a tumor!”
What follows includes a cheating husband, a weed-smoking sis, a hippie nan-doula, and a super-cute gelatinous blob. Clocking in at 90 minutes in-length, Cynthia was directed by Devon Downs (Anarchy Parlor 2015, Buried Secrets 2018) and Kenny Gage (Twisted Sisters 2016, Devious Nanny TV movie 2018), and was written by Robert Rhine (Vinnie and Angela’s Beauty Salon and Funeral Parlor 1999, Exorcism at 60,000 Feet 2018).
The film also features Sid Haig (House of 1,000 Corpses 2003, The Devil’s Rejects 2005) as Detective Edwards; Bill Moseley (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2 1986, The Devil’s Rejects 2005), as one sassy little homeless woman; Robert LaSardo (Death Race 2008, Nip/Tuck series) as Pete, the janitor; Rebecca Marshall (The West Wing series, Two and a Half Men series) as Robin’s sister; James William O’Halloran (Notorious series, Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders series) as Randy; Lynn Lowry (The Crazies 1973, Shivers 1975) as the nan-doula; Andrew Pagana (Raze 2013, Buried Secrets 2018) as Detective Downs; Ben Whalen (Anarchy Parlor 2015, My Crazy Sex series) as Pathologist Manny; James Karen (Poltergeist 1982, The Return of the Living Dead 1985) as Frank Teague,and Emma Julia Jacobs (Hitchcock 2012, Starry Eyes 2014) as sexy Nurse Tippi.
Cynthia is a curious film, one that is not exactly a Horror offering, though the elements are there, nor is it truly anything uproarious as far as Comedy goes. However, despite both of these potential negatives, it is an enjoyable film to watch, one that is chock-full of some of modern Horrors most-popular faces and a little creature that, despite its grotesqueness, looks absolutely adorable in a pink princess cone hat.
This is a film that plays around with the psychosis of a pregnant woman, who dips potato chips into ice cream and seeks out a “labor-inducing pizza,” and ultimately, who loves both of her children – even if one of them is a smelly, fleshy little ball of goo with four teeth. In fact, on a grander scale, Cynthia utilizes all the typical stereotypes to try and make humor and, while it sometimes works, by and large there’s not much that is particularly funny about an overprotective new mom or a dumb blonde nurse, or, for that matter, a suddenly gay husband. Yet, the final fifteen to twenty minutes of the production ramp up the efforts to make viewers laugh and it pays off with one amusing scene inside a princess castle ball pit.
The strength of Cynthia’s stellar cast is a definite highlight of the film, though some do much more (with much less!) than others. Moseley is on screen for a matter of minutes, depicting a batty old homeless woman in a shockingly yellow dress, but he utilizes this time to shine. His character is entirely superfluous and offers nothing to the actual plot, but Moseley always delivers 500%. In a similar sense, Haig delivers a performance that is pertinent to the film’s success, and, as always, does an exemplary job with his role. Rhine, as the obstetrician, offers up some yucks, as does Lowry as the Hippie nan-doula.
In the lead role, Taylor-Compton does a wonderful job with the material she is given, and yet that material feels somehow beneath her acting skills. She’s proven herself as a strong and commanding female lead, and here she is reduced to the nagging spouse and/or the slightly looney tunes new mother. None of her material is ever particularly funny, nor does it seem intended to be, and so it feels like her strengths have been squandered on a role that does not ever truly allow her to show an alternate, comedic side. It is a bit of a Catch-22 and will leave viewers to wonder if, despite her being good in the role, is the role good for her?
Overall, Cynthia is more of an amusing film than anything truly funny or uproarious, as its attempts at humor are largely silly or predictable. While it’s also not horrifying, that little Cynthia is quite an amusing addition to the creature vault, a creepy little mutant that makes some amusing noises in her travels. Truthfully, it is very hard to boil the film down to an easy “yay” or “nay,” but it is certainly a well-done production that was birthed with tons of love by its cast and crew. Ready to take baby home, CrypticRock gives Cynthia 3.5 of 5 stars.