December 22, 2014 The Taking of Deborah Logan (Movie Review)
The Taking of Deborah Logan is a Found Footage Independent Horror film released on video in the US on October 21, 2014 and is distributed by Eagle Films and Millennium Entertainment. This was the directorial debut for actor Adam Robitel (2001 Maniacs 2005, Chillerama 2011), who also co-wrote and co-produced the film with producers Bryan Singer (X-Men: Days of Future Past 2014, The Usual Suspects 1995) and Jeff Rice (Lone Survivor 2013, 2 Guns 2013) and writer Gavin Heffernan (Chillerama 2011, One for the Road 2011). The movie stars Jill Larson (All My Children 1989-2013, Shutter Island 2010), Anne Ramsey (A League of Their Own 1992, Dexter 2008), Michelle Ang (Underemployed 2012-2013, Big Mamas: Like Father, Like Son 2011), Brett Gentile (We’re the Millers 2013, Seeking Justice 2011) and Jeremy DeCarlos (Ben 10: Alien Swarm 2009, Tackle Box 2004), with music by Haim Mazar (Stem Cell Universe with Stephen Hawking 2014, The Iceman 2012). The makeup and special effects were amazingly done by Vincent J Guastini (Requiem for a Dream 2000, Thinner 1996) and Jacob Hair (Rottweiler 2004, Red Riding Hood 2006).
Mentioning “found footage” and “possession” in a movie description is the quickest way to make a contemporary Horror fan roll their eyes. It has been done before and there does not seem to be anything new to bring to the table, but The Taking of Deborah Logan is different. There really is an original story here, or at least an original telling.
Proud Deborah Logan (Larson) does not like change. She does not want to ask for help and she does not want anyone’s charity. Unfortunately, Deborah Logan has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and no amount of pride or former independence will make that go away. It also won’t make the bills go away. So when Medical student Mia (Ang) and her film crew Luis (DeCarlos) and Gavin (Gentile) offer her and her daughter, Sarah (Ramsey), enough money to keep themselves afloat in exchange for the ability to film her disease’s progress, Deborah reluctantly agrees. Once the filming starts, the downward spiral of Deborah’s life is apparent as this aggressive disease takes its toll. The elderly Deborah goes from the well coifed and put together matriarch of the household, to a spaced out automaton, to a screaming, self-mutilating hysteric in what seems like the blink of an eye. Cameraman Luis notices some strange, surreal occurrences in his reviewing of the tapes, but it is not until Deborah returns to the old switchboard in the attic – her main source of income as she raised her daughter alone in the ’70s – and they find her repeating the number three-three-seven and growling in French about snakes and sacrifices. Do they call her Doctor? The team and Sarah investigate why the switchboard number means so much to the old woman to help her overcome her seemed obsession, only to find out that the line had once belonged to a local French physician, Dr. Henry Desjardins, who disappeared after four young girls went missing and were later found partially eaten. This proves too much for Gavin and he bails, but for Mia, Luis and Sarah, this is only the beginning.
Watching someone go through some of the stages of Alzheimer’s disease reminds us that we will all get old. Deborah’s descent into this disease is a sad one, but it is this story that draws us in and makes us care so deeply for this woman. There is no escape from growing old and the results on our bodies, even if our spirits remain intact. Diseases of the brain can change someone into a completely different person. As one watches a loved one go through this terrible, heartbreaking metamorphosis, they can only wonder if there is something more going on, something supernatural, in this sudden and complete change in personality.
Although this straight-to-video film was never given the attention that it deserves in theatres, it has been found and favored by many in the Horror community on demand and on Netflix. It begins with a credible story and slowly delves into the supernatural without unrealistic character decisions or clear cut answers. After meeting Deborah Logan, one wants to save her, even after her final transformation. CrypticRock gives The Taking of Deborah Logan 5 out of 5 stars.