February 11, 2019 Pull (Movie Review)
Imagine waking to the worst of nightmares: a chain through the gut, a silent serial killer, and hungry, hellish monsters. Pull is the American Horror/Thriller which is set to be released Blu-ray on Tuesday, February 12, 2019, via Gravitas Ventures. It was written and directed by the young and ambitious, veteran Marine infantryman James Ryan Gary (Devil’s Crossing 2011), and made in conjunction with Indigo Pictures.
The film features Toochukwu T.C. Anyachonkeya (Iron Man 3 2013, Prelude to Infusco 2014) as team newcomer, Kyle; April Ezell Williams (American Warships 2012, Southern Comfort 2014) as determined group leader, Mickey; Tim Holt (Sleepy Hollow series, Rom 2010) as accompanying investigator, Charles; Valerie Bobo (Devil’s Crossing 2011) as Mickey’s sister, Tina; Bonnie Johnson (Big Fish 2003, The Punisher 2004) as their mother, Deloris; and Tom O’Donnell making his film debut as one psychotic pet owner and serial killer.
Pull, originally titled Pulled to Hell, centers around a team of private investigators who travel cross-country in search of a murderer who makes meals out people for his flesh-obsessed beasts. With nothing to go on but her mother’s vivid “visions from God,” Mickey (Williams) struggles to save those whom are seemingly brought to her through divine intervention. With the help of her team of friends, as well as newly acquired member and sibling, Tina (Bobo), Mickey tries to track down this diabolical pet-parent who seems hellbent on turning everyone into an entrée for his cruel creatures, before it’s too late.
The movie starts as an entertaining Horror journey that teems with promise, but unfortunately, it is not long before it dies down to more of a slow-burning jaunt with little payout. The intro may give viewers the impression that this film will be filled with violence and gore, but hopes will be crushed by scaled-back action and accompanying special effects. That is not to say that either of those elements were blatantly mishandled, per se, but rather not pushed to their full potential.
The lack of stellar performances and rising action, insipid dialogue, forced fight sequences, an unoriginal antagonist, the inclusion of Horror that is more implied than supplied, and the overuse of intense darkness to conceal featureless creatures only aids in highlighting the film’s more unfavorable qualities without affording viewers the opportunity to appreciate its bright spots. The cinematography was one of these bright spots. There were many aspects of the filming that were impressively managed, but sadly that was just not enough to overshadow its faults. The manner in which the visions were shot and distorted to distinguish it from reality, as it played out in real time, was effectively delightful.
The special effects were also greatly managed when they were accurately applied. There were a few moments when wounds from blunt force trauma did not quite match the action that resulted in them, or gore was void when it should have been overtly present; but other than that, it was a redeeming quality which should not go overlooked.
With a villain that had the vocabulary of Michael Myers, the murderous reach of Leatherface, and the brute strength of Jason Vorhees, there was still so much left to be desired when it came to this nameless killer. With so many factors weighing against it and outshining its good points, Cryptic Rock gives Pull 2 out of 5 stars.