“King keeps us strapped in, and we are forced to witness each uncomfortable stretch to its inevitable conclusion.”

You can read writer-director John Brian King’s exclusive INFLUX Magazine interview here.

by Rob Rector

Redlands joins the ranks of the original Funny Games, and Irreversible in that you can enjoy the film for its technical prowess and appreciate the craft involved, both in front of and behind the camera … but you never wish to see the film again.

The film begins with what looks like a foray into yet more “found footage,” with our protagonist Vienna (played by Nicole Fox), speaking with us directly into the camera in a video blog entry.

Things quickly turn down Arthouse Avenue after that, in which director John Brian King lets the camera linger on scenes and situations for longer than we are comfortable staying. And aside from Fox, they hardly feature actors you would consider “camera ready.”

Written & Directed by
John Brian King
Nicole Fox, Clifford Morts, Sam Brittan
Release Date
Rob’s Grade: B+

I know this all sounds as strikes against the film, but they work to its advantage in its deliberately paced groove. Vienna is hoping to shred her monotonous secretarial gig for a chance to cash in her looks for what she considers “art.” For the viewer, it’s fairly certain to tell that her choice in photographers should probably be thought through.

Allan (played by Clifford Morts) is a sad (but not pity-worthy), repressed middle-age man whose tiny pocket camera he brings to the first shoot is both metaphorically and literally telling. He’s obviously a novice to the whole “professional photography” biz, and we catch glimpses of how his life went off the rails years ago.

Vienna sees his eccentricities as quirks. Then again, by the looks of her boyfriend Zack (played by Sam Brittan), it’s pretty obvious she’s not the best judge of character when it comes to the opposite sex.

It’s fairly easy to see where it all heads, and there are many times we want to jump out of the car to avoid experiencing the impending collision. But King keeps us strapped in, and we are forced to witness each uncomfortable stretch to its inevitable conclusion.

It’s not perfect, as the video blog entries come off a bit too contrived and the acting stilted, but there is far more going right for Redlands than these minor distractions. It may be difficult for Redlands to find its market, as it is too stoic for horror films and too unsettling for those with more delicate sensibilities. But for those who can appreciate not only the level of skill that went into the film, but also its unflinching take on what we may endure to be noticed, there’s much to praise in the film.

You may just want to snuggle with puppies for a few days after watching.

Redlands is now available on VOD or can be seen on Vimeo here.