Saturday, April 30, 2016

DEMENTIA (2015) (Blu-ray Review)

DEMENTIA (2015) 

Label: Scream Factory I IFC Midnight

Release Date: May 17th 2016 
Region Code: A
Rating: Unrated
Duration: 90 Minutes
Audio: English DTS-HD MA 5.1, 2.0 with Optional English Subtitles
Video: 1080p HD Widescreen (2.35:1)
Director: Mike Testin
Cast: Peter Cilella, Richard Riehle, Steve Agee, Hassie Harrison, Kristina Klebe, Marc Senter, Tony Denison, Gene Jones

Synopsis: In Dementia, George (Gene Jones, The Hateful Eight and The Sacrament) is an aging ex-soldier haunted by memories of Vietnam and struggling to reconnect with his estranged son and granddaughter. But when he suffers a stroke and is diagnosed with dementia, George is left in the care of Michelle (Halloween’s Kristina Klebe), a seemingly sweet nurse with a disturbing dark side. At the mercy of a psychopath with a hypodermic needle, George becomes a prisoner in his own home, caught in a sadistic game of cat and mouse as brutal as anything he experienced in Vietnam. In his feature debut, director Mike Testin masterfully keeps the tension mounting — until it explodes in delirious violence.

Dementia is a decent enough thriller starring Gene Jones (The Sacrament as an aging Vietnam vet named George who is suffering with dementia, the man is already plagued by visions of the horrors he saw in 'Nam and now he must deal with reality unravelling around him as he succumbs to dementia. He is estranged from his adult son Jerry (Peter Cilella), but they are reunited when his son returns to arrange for home care for his aging father, he brngs with him his teen daughter Shelby (Hassie Harrison). Enter into the picture we have the home care giver Michelle (Kristina Klebe) who has been assigned to care for George, who can no longer be trusted to care for himself. 

As is carelessly given away by the synopsis this caretaker proves to be a threat to George, drugging him and locking him away in his room, for reasons that are far too clear just a half hour or so into the movie, which definitely dampens the reveal later in the movie, by which point the movie is just playing catch-up to what we already know, which is probably the blackest mark against it. It has 'Nam flashbacks which feed into an important  reveal later in the movie, including a scene of a man chewing through his own wrist to commit suicide, which is a harrowing idea, damn. 

The performances are great across the board, Gene Jones really blew me away as the charismatic cult leader in the Ti West movie The Sacrament, his performance was a hypnotic powerhouse and he does great work here the weakened and mentally frail 'Nam vet struggling against a malevolent force which has entered his home, and for her part as the deranged caregiver Kristina Klebe does good work, though maybe a bit too over-the-top at times, though I do think the writing has a lot to do with that. It was nice to see a cameo from character actor great Richard Riehle (Office Space) as George's chess-playing friend, who meets an unfortunate end when he comes to the aid of George. Hassie Harrison is also very good as the granddaughter who yearns to connect with her estranged grandfather who ends up doing a bit of preposterous movie sleuthing of her own, which leads to a delirious finale that feels a bit too over-the-top and also asks the viewer to betray their allegiances and biases to certain characters on a dime, it is not ruinous but it is asking a lot of the viewer and is not an earned twist, just a twist for the sake of a twist. 

Special Features: 
- Trailer (2 Mins) HD