Directed by: Jamin Winans
Cast: Chris Kelly, Jessica Duffy, Quinn Hunchar, Jeremy Make
Running Time: 1 hr 40 mins
Release Date: July 24, 2009
Plot: A child’s soul is stolen by an Ink (Incubus) in an effort to ingratiate himself to his superiors. So the Storytellers go on a quest to save her and reunite her with her father, John (Chris Kelly).
Who’s It For? Fans of fantasy who unfortunately have low standards.
Expectations: I don’t get a lot of sci-fi or fantasy to review though it’s a genre I really like. So I was hoping to find a diamond in the rough.
Chris Kelly as John: John is a raging a-hole who also happens to be the father of Emma, an adorable Dakota Fanning lookalike. But after his wife died he was removed from her life by the court, who gave custody to his in-laws. So he’s sunk his efforts into being a businessman who’s business seems to be sputtering streams of curse words that make no sense. He must be amazing at his random job for anyone at his company to put up with him, or not sue the crap out of him for abuse. When his daughter ends up in a coma, he refuses to go visit her! Seriously? I had a hard time determining it Kelly was a bad actor or just had a crappy script. The fact that he’s from the facial hair school of acting doesn’t help. In all the flash backs he’s a nice guy with a clean shaven face, in the present he’s an arse with a beard. Apparently, conveying his jerkiness without the aid of facial hair was too much to ask. Not a good sign.
Jessica Duffy as Liev: The Storytellers give people pleasant dreams. Liev is one of those, living in her shadow world and sharing good dreams until Emma (Quinn Hunchar) is kidnapped by Ink. She tries to save her but is captured by Ink as well. Duffy seems like a reasonably good actress, she’s definitely good with Hunchar. Unfortunately, she doesn’t have a lot to work with. Her motivation is murky, she wants to talk Ink out of it, so does that mean that being an Incubus is a choice rather than something that you just are? It’s all confusing.
Jeremy Make as Jacob: Jacob is blind, you can tell because he has electrical tape over his eyes. Apparently, he’s incapable of acting blind without this prop. No one’s dialogue is good, but he gets some especially heinous lines. Again, I can’t tell if the actor sucks or the part was terrible, in this one I’m going with both. Jacob’s meant to be a soothsayer with attitude, but just comes off as a bit of a turd.
Talking: There’s so much wrong here. There are the long streams of obscenities that seem unwarranted and don’t make sense. It’s hard to make hardcore cursing sound normal when the situation isn’t extreme. I now appreciate Samuel L. Jackson so much more than I did before. Beyond that, every touching scene between Emma and John or Emma and Liev sounds like a hundred hallmark cards vomitting their worst cliches.
Sights: At first I thought the film looked pretty good. The special effects for the Incubi with screens in front of their faces is pretty creepy. Then the color started changing, some scenes are grey, some green, some blue and none of it has any degree of consistency. It’s not like the real world is one color and the parallel world of the Storytellers is another, it just keeps changing scene by scene for no reason. Then there’s the ADD Tony Scott style editing. This film doesn’t use the same effects he uses, but in one scene two men are talking on a stairwell while the camera angle switches by about 180 degrees over and over again, with no sense of timing. It’s a really bad sign when I notice the editing of a film.
Sounds: Actually the score wasn’t bad in this movie, it did make me almost care what was going on during the pivotal scenes at the end when everything was supposedly coming together.
Best Scene: Any scene with the creepy faced incubi was pretty cool. Well, except for the dialogue and acting.
Ending: I didn’t really care. Though the ending did explain a fake body part. Also, what was with the Storytellers doing their shadow fighting? The fight didn’t seem to have anything to do with them after all.
Questions: Why go through and create a mythology for your film if you’re not going to name any of your characters in the film? Why did anyone think this film would be a good idea?
Rewatchability: No chance.
I see a lot of independent films and I want to support their filmmakers. But ultimately, I have to go with the people who are going to pay money to see these movies and so I’ve got to warn you NOT to see this. I thought the idea of low budget scifi could be really cool, like Primer a great, if somewhat confusing low-budget surprise. But Ink makes the same mistakes that big budget films do, it relies on effects and camera trickery rather than creating a strong story. The film has some moments that look cool, but from the beginning I couldn’t get hooked into the script. The mythology of the Storytellers and incubi isn’t really explained, it’s just something I cobbled together using the credits to give them names. I wouldn’t have made it to the end of this movie if I wasn’t writing a review of it. That’s something that I almost never say. It’s a mess.
Final Score: 2/10