Friday, March 19, 2021

Todd Review: A Quirky Character That Descends Too Fast

Release date: March 16, 2021
Running time: 92 minutes        
Starring: Aaron Jackson, Hans Hernke, Laura Stetman, with Michael Winslow
Written and directed by Aaron Warren

“TODD” is the story of a man who has always felt like the “odd man out.”  From a young age, Todd is shunned and ridiculed by his peers. Over time his pain and anger turns into rage and despair. When psychoanalysis and depression drugs don’t work, the young eccentric becomes a morbid introvert, withdrawing from society in a downward spiral to insanity. He not only sets his sites on an aspiring young actress, but on his psychiatrist and the doctor's family too. 

Todd focuses on the namesake character and his downward spiral into madness.  When he stops taking his medication and begins to explore self help, he goes from mild mannered introvert to outright madness.  But Todd's descent into madness seems relatively sudden when he stops taking his medication.  His character has quirks, which come through on screen, but it is not explored enough to really get a sense of the character and what drives him.  So he goes from a sort of quirky, withdrawn person to a psychopath pretty quickly, which hurts the films overall character development.  

But the main, underlying problem with Todd is that it is just not very scary.  For a psychological horror film, the movie never really feels that unsettling or tense.  Part of that might be the camera style, it has a home movie camera look that makes it tough to really get drawn in.  The slightly overdone acting also doesn't help to let you just give in.  And although Jackson does a good job as Todd, he just is not that scary.  His character appears more quirky and even when he starts to spiral into madness, I just didn't feel that unsettled by him.  A film like this needs to have the main character be unsettling and have you on the edge of your seat, and Todd just doesn't have that.  Additionally, the music does not help to ratchet up the tension as it has too grandiose of a style for the film.  It feels like the audio clips were designed for a different type of movie, one that is a very different style than Todd.  And overall, the story accelerates too fast.  You don't get a drip feed of development, you get a quick start and then Todd's quick spiral.  

Todd is a horror film that tries to humanize a madman, but its strange camera style and lack of tension and scares hurt this indie horror film.

Pass on it.

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Todd is available on DVD, digitally, and on demand on March 12, 2021. 

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