FEBRUARY 24, 2008
The other day I watched Wrestlemaniac, which gave Irwin Keyes top billing for one scene. Well he’s got nothing on the cast of Headspace, which gives the first four starring credits to Olivia Hussey, William Atherton, Larry Fessenden, and Sean Young, despite the fact that all of their scenes combined make up less than 20% of the 90 minute film. Come on, there’s not a lot of Atherton movies to begin with, at least don’t promise a wealth of his presence in one and then kill him off 20 minutes in!
One thing I will NOT complain about is how small Sean Young’s role is. In fact, she’s dead before her credit even appears. I can’t stand the woman, and beginning a film by having half her fucking head blown off is a surefire way to win me over, lack of Atherton or not.
Unfortunately the film never quite comes together as well as I’d hoped, and more or less squanders a lot of its opportunities to be really good. The plot is interesting, but it’s never really fleshed out or explained either. The ending is baffling, the kill scenes are drenched in ambiguity (did the guy kill everyone himself, or just use his mind to make them kill themselves?), etc. For every plus the movie has, there are just many (if not more) minuses, which results in a movie that just sort of cancels itself out.
Some of those pluses include the acting. In addition to the aforementioned “stars”, there are also small roles by Udo Kier and Dee Wallace Stone (honestly billed via “with” and “and” titles). And the REAL leads of the film are good as well, whoever the hell they are (the main dude looks kind of like the guy playing John Connor on that Terminator show, but it’s not him). And the gore/makeup is highly impressive as well – in addition to the Young’s head blast I already praised, there is a nice face ripping for Udo, some impressive full bodied monsters (only seen in glimpses, sadly), and other nasty bits that look far better than one might expect from a film with such an obvious low budget.
Unfortunately, it’s one of the few technical aspects I can give any praise to. The editing is atrocious at times, not to mention sort of pointless – at one point they flashback and show a suicide when we already know the results, so it’s only there for shock value. Since the editing is so bad I can assume that some of the questions I have were once answered in a longer cut (I watched the film on cable, apparently the DVD has 40 min of deleted scenes). The film is also needlessly dark at times, though that may be a result of poor transfer for cable (it's certainly a bad cropping job - the director of photography credit reads "irector of photograph").
In the end, it’s certainly well meaning, and I appreciate the idea of doing a psychological gore movie (it almost comes off as Jacob’s Ladder as directed by Herschell Gordon Lewis), but it never quite gels into a cohesive whole. This is the type of movie that should be remade with competent post production people and better resources, but I’m sure it will just eventually be forgotten about entirely, which I am pretty sure is a shame. Then again, for all I know, the writer might just be some Richard Kelly wannabe who writes shit even he himself doesn’t understand in an attempt to look smart.
What say you?