Sunday, March 2, 2014

Movie Review "Marker"

Film Review:

Okay, so, while I was bored, I ran into this at the discount bin at Hasting. $3.99, and it has an... intriguing premise.

In an isolated small town in the Pacific Northwest, Sylvia's teenaged life of juggling two boyfriends and an overprotective father is turned upside down when she discovers she has a bizarre virus which has randomly plagued the women in her community for decades and shamefully forced those afflicted into hiding. Sylvia undergoes a horrifying physical transformation, and she finds herself drawn into a persecuted underworld where she begins an astonishing journey of freakish self-discovery. Marker is a classic coming-of-age tale with a horror twist, which pits its heroine against her oppressors - the town's non-afflicted - in a battle for self-determination--and survival.
Alright, let me lay all my cards on the table first, this is definitively not any sort of award-winning film, and it is definitively not a horror movie, no mater what the box cover and dust-jacket summary say. No major special effects, no major sound track and nothing special in the acting department. In fact, the cast is 20 names long (including the stuntman), and of that, I would say 12 of them could probably be outperformed by my high school drama club.

Alright, so, now that we have established that we are definitively in B-movie territory, lets talk about what does work about the film.

First of all, there is an ambiguous (and very light) mix of science fiction and fantasy as the premise to this film. Little is explained, and even less is fleshed out in any real detail. the execution is very 2010s, with the supporting undertones of sexuality, youth, and pending maturity handled in such a way that would have probably gotten this a PG-13 rating back in the mid 80s.

The whole story revolves around Sylvia as she is on the verge of pulling her hair out because of how badly she want's the leave the isolated town she was born in. Ironically, despite some sadly stilted dialogue, I thought the actress (Iris Graham) did a respectable job portraying a teen who is so fed up with her current, cloistered existence that she has two boyfriends and wants nothing more than to go to college just so she can get out of the town where everyone knows everyone else a little too well.

The real thing that I latched on to here in this film was the premise. In its own truly quirky, strange, we-don't-have-the-budget-to-do-this-justice way, the film does take some nice aimed (if less than subtle) stabs at the social concepts of "normal", and "the status quo".

thought I do have to say, the final showdown was a well executed attempt at an idea that obviously looked really good on paper, but just didn't translate well to screen. You'll have to watch to understand what I mean, sorry, but I was torn between laughing from the logic gaps, or nodding appreciatively at the creativity they were going for.

So, closing thoughts.

The overall premise on this was actually very good, and had a lot of potential. It clearly suffered from limited resources and a writer that didn't want to take it where it probably needed to go, and frankly doesn't seem to have the talent to make some of the harder parts work. I think the actors did the best they could with what they had, but none of them were good enough to salvage some weak parts. Still, the concepts of "coming of age", "status", "society" and "normal" were intriguingly approached, and from a relatively modern standpoint. (Seriously, back in the 80s, the big scandal would have been that the girl was even sleeping with someone, and here it's just more or less accepted as part of her being a kid).

I'm calling this one 6/10. By no means something you should run out and pay top dollar for, but all told, I think it's just out there enough and just strange enough that it's worth enjoying if you have a spare two hours to kick back.