Manson Family Vacation (2015)
Starring Jay Duplass, Linas Phillips, Leonora Pitts, Adam Chernik, Davie-Blue, and Tobin Bell
Directed by J. Davis
***This film is currently streaming on Netflix***
Successful lawyer Nick (Jay Duplass) loves his job, his wife Amanda (Leonora Pitts), and son Max (Adam Chernik) -- he's got a good life. When his estranged adopted brother Conrad (Linas Phillips) returns to town unemployed and having sold all of his possessions, Nick feels the need to try and help him, but all Conrad wants to do is take a weekend mini-road trip to locales made famous by 1960s criminal Charles Manson and the members of his commune-like "family." As they travel, the brothers' past is dug up and underlying tensions rise to the surface all set against the backdrop of a notorious decades-old crime spree.
There's something slightly unnerving about the initial prologue flashed up on the screen at the beginning of the film that states that to this day, Charles Manson still receives 60,000 fan letters a year, so when Conrad's fascination with Manson is revealed, there's an immediate discomfort that sets in. Manson Family Vacation isn't by any means a horror film or a thriller, but the disquieting aspect runs rampant throughout. Buoyed by two nice performances from Jay Duplass and Linas Phillips, the flick creates a nice balance between comedy and drama, building a substantive relationship between Nick and Conrad in a short period of time. It does fall apart a little bit during its middle act, but Manson Family Vacation is a surprisingly deep tale about the importance of family.
The RyMickey Rating: B