Friday, April 20, 2007

The Attic Expeditions (2001)

This little-seen gem of a horror film that is The Attic Expeditions is a twisted mind screw that all horror fans deserve to see. It’s got a terrific cast (Jeffrey Combs, Ted Raimi, Seth Green and even Alice Cooper in a cameo!), as story full of twists and turns and enough tricks up its sleeve to keep you entertained!

Trevor Blackburn (Andras Jones) wakes up from a coma he’s been in the last four years, only he wakes up to find himself in a mental institution with no memories of why or how he got there. Dr. Eck (Jeffrey Combs) tells him he murdered his fiancé Faith (Beth Bates) in a strange ritual and has been under the doctor’s care ever since. Trevor can’t remember what happened and struggles with brief flashes of memories he does have. Nonetheless, Dr. Eck sends him to a halfway house for recovering mental patients called The House of Love. Trevor is under the care of Dr. Thalama (Wendy Robie), along with patients Amy (Shannon Hart Cleary), Douglas (Seth Green), Liz (Nancy Wolfe) and Ronald (Jerry Hauck). Soon, strange things start happening that call into question Trevor’s reality. Is everything happening in his head? Did Trevor really even kill his fiancé? Or has Dr. Eck gone too far in his “treatment” of Trevor?

The Attic Expeditions in one twisted movie that toys with you through its entire 90 minute running length. Just when you think you have it all figured out, it throws another curveball at you. Through its nonlinear narrative and nightmarish images, the film places you squarely in Trevor’s shoes. Like him, the viewer has no idea what is real and what isn’t.

One of the many joys of this movie is the performances by the actors. Jeffrey Combs does puts on a great performance as Dr. Eck, one that resembles his most famous role, that of Dr. Herbert West in Re-Animator. He is hilarious, enigmatic and thoroughly entertaining to watch! Andras Jones as Trevor is easy on the eyes as well as being a superb actor. Though he may (or may not) have done horrible things, we still feel for his character and care a great deal about him. Seth Green is hilarious as always and seems pretty comfortable playing a spastic nutcase! The rest of the cast should be commended for a job well-done also…my favorite crazy was Ronald, played by Jerry Hauck, whose “conversation” with his alligator hand puppet was one of the creepiest scenes in the film.

There’s a fair amount of blood in the film, but not enough to satisfy gorehounds. This film really doesn’t need gore, though, as it’s got enough tricks to keep you guessing until the end (and even at that point, not much is revealed). The horror of the film is more focused on psychological torment and nightmarish visions than blood ‘n’ guts. The spooky trunk in the attic that appears to have someone or something in it…that’s wayyyy spookier than any evisceration could ever be!

Guys (and some girls as well) will be tickled pink to see redhead Beth Bates and blonde Shannon Hart Cleary bare all for the camera in a few sex scenes with Jones. I felt these scenes were a bit silly, especially with the stereotypical “hard rock” music that flared up every time Trevor would get with another woman. At one point, I even expected him and his therapist to get it on (luckily that didn’t happen)!

Be warned, though, the story jumps around more than a schizophrenic in a candy shop. One minute, it’s all sweet talk as Trevor and his fiancé Faith talk about their future together under a grand oak tree but the next scene gets all down ‘n’ dirty with Trevor bound to the ground in a cave, about to be sacrificed in a grisly manner over what appears to be a satanic symbol. I could still follow the story, but it does take a little patience and understanding. The way it was edited and shown does make a lot of sense considering the entire story, so stick it out! The ending might leave some scratching their heads, but I absolutely loved it. I don’t need explanations, I just loved it and it worked!

I wholeheartedly recommend The Attic Expeditions to horror fans or those that want their heads messed with a little bit. In this day and age of remakes and "reimagings" it's nice to see something original come along. Not only that, but The Attic Expeditions will screw with your head days after watching it…
Available on Amazon!

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