What I'm Watching: Among Friends
Happy Labor Day, horrorheads! What better way to spend it than...AMONG FRIENDS??
Okay, seriously. Among Friends is a movie I watched this past week, directed by horror icon Danielle Harris. It's about a group of friends getting together to throw an 80s themed murder mystery party as one last big bash before one of them moves away.
During the course of the night the murder mystery becomes all too real, things go horribly wrong, and secrets are revealed, secrets that they've kept even from themselves. Their friendships are tested in ways they never expected, and nothing will ever be the same amongst the group.
But hey, that's what happens when you allow someone to cut off your friend's fingers for shits and giggles...
The movie ends up being what is termed in the tv biz as a 'bottle episode', where most of the action happens in one room. You really could do this as a play, almost. Because of that, and because most of the cast is tied down for 2/3rds of the plot, not a lot actually HAPPENS.
A lot of that gets broken up with flashbacks via video recordings taken by the evil mastermind, everyone's supposed friend Bernadette. Because of her cameras and (I think?) her trade as a psychologist, she knows everyone's secrets, and sets about revealing them. Fortunately Bernadette also remains free and pretty violent, so while there's a lot of sitting tied up around a table, her actions keep things lively.
Overall, I enjoyed this movie. It harkens back nicely to those cheap slashers of the 80s, and if you're a fan of this site, you know what that means. The story is also pretty solid, and things unfold at a good pace and how everything ties together is well done. The hints dropped early in the story all come back and most of the questions are answered in a satisfactory way.
The only scene that did NOT work for me at all, was when one of the character, who took mushrooms unexpectedly, has her bad trip kick in, and the movie diverts into tha for longer than was necessary. It's a fun scene where she trips out and sees the entire cast as part of a movie, with the roles being recast by well known actors, like Michael Biehn. It's cute, and silly, but really adds nothing much to the overall plot than wackiness and a bit of humour. Laughs like that CAN be a welcome release, and that is the point where they should have come, but the way they were brought in just ended up feeling more forced than anything.
I really liked what the movie had to say about friendship, how in some cases we may not really know our friends very well, if at all, and in other cases, those friendships may well mean nothing when they need to mean the most. It's a great commentary on the nature of friendships and shallowness, and whenever a horror movie can slip in some metaphor, it is always good!
Harris's directing is very good, especially for a first time director. I've always enjoyed her acting, and seeing her take things to the next level was a treat, and I will continue to follow her to directing, if this keeps up.
So, a maybe sometimes cheesy movie that gives lots of nods to 80s style and movies, with some nice metaphor and a decent enough story? Even with that one scene that I could do with out, I would say anyone who enjoys the movies I already talk about should at least give this one a chance.