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So as you know, I stopped writing lengthy reviews on this site this year, keeping the blog as more of a film diary of sorts.  Lo and behold,...

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Movie Review - The Taking of Deborah Logan

The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)
Starring Jill Larson, Anne Ramsay, Michelle Ang, Ryan Cutrona, and Anne Bedian
Directed by Adam Robitel
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***

The low-budget faux-documentary horror film The Taking of Deborah Logan was barely released in theaters this past year likely due to the fact that no celebrities make an appearance coupled with the notion that the film focuses on the elderly as opposed to the young.  A deadly combination apparently when crafting a film that has desires of theatrical viability.  It's rather unfortunate because director and screenwriter Adam Robitel's debut film does a decent job of crafting a smarter than usual horror flick.  Granted, it still falls for the typical horror tropes and is a bit stretched out even at its relatively short running time, but The Taking of Deborah Logan feels, at times, like a horror story that could actually happen...and that's saying something considering it's simply another spin at the tried and tested "exorcism" genre of scary flicks.

The faux-documentary style takes shape here in the guise of college student Mia (Michelle Ang) and her cameraman (Ryan Cutrona) researching Alzheimer's Disease by traveling to a small Northeast town to meet with Sarah Logan (Anne Ramsay) and her sixty-something mother Deborah (Jill Larson) who is finding herself in the initial stages of dementia.  What starts off as a rather innocent look at the effects of an horrific disease on a family shifts into documentation of strange goings-on in the Larson's large farmhouse.  Windows closing automatically, weird spatial time issues on recordings, and bellowing voices booming out of Deborah's mouth accompany some of the more telltale signs that Deborah has become possessed -- a notion that doesn't dawn on anyone in the film until much too late (hence the previously stated opinion that the film drags a bit).  Still, despite the typical exorcism characteristics, The Taking of Deborah Logan does add some unique twists on the genre including a rather intriguing backstory that plays into why exactly Deborah may or may not be possessed.

Robitel adds enough "new" to the mix that his film feels fresh.  (There's one scene in particular -- and when you watch this, you'll know -- that had me saying to myself, "I've never seen that before," in a good and interesting [although disgusting] way.)  That said, the found footage and faux documentary horror genre feels so passé now.  (Of course I say this and just this year have seen two really solid flicks in this subgenre in The Sacrament and this film.)  Jill Larson -- best known for being a soap opera actress -- is quite good as the title character.  Her transgression from kindly older woman to deranged lunatic is believable, quite scary, and certainly worth checking out.

The RyMickey Rating:  B-

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