Friday, April 30, 2021

Separation Review: A Creepy Custody Battle

Rupert Friend	...	Jeff Brian Cox	Brian Cox	...	Rivers Madeline Brewer	Madeline Brewer	...	Samantha Mamie Gummer	Mamie Gummer	...	Maggie Violet McGraw	Violet McGraw	...	Jenny Troy James	Troy James	...	Nerezza Simon Quarterman	Simon Quarterman	...	Alan Manny Perez	Manny Perez	...	Officer Pitt Chelsea Debo	Chelsea Debo	...	Cori Eric T. Miller	Eric T. Miller	...	Connor Lorrie Odom	Lorrie Odom	...	Officer Rossi Ratnesh Dubey	Ratnesh Dubey	...	Victor Craig Marin	Craig Marin	...	Puppets & Puppetry Jenny Hann	Jenny Hann	...	Grim Figure Puppeteer Olga Felgemacher	Olga Felgemacher	...	Puppets & Puppetry Kareemeh Odeh	Kareemeh Odeh	...	Paramedic

Release date: April 30, 2021
Running time: 108 minutes
Directed By: William Brent Bell
Written By: Nick Amadeus, Josh Braun
Starring: Rupert Friend, Brian Cox, Madeline Brewer, Violet McGraw, Troy James

A young girl is in the middle of a marriage that is falling apart.  After tragedy strikes, she finds solace in her artist father and the strange spirit that she says is her dead mother.  But is this spirit helpful or something that is out to harm the family.

Directed by  William Brent Bell	...	(directed by)Writing Credits (in alphabetical order)   Nick Amadeus	 Josh Braun
Separation has a very creepy opening that highlights the artist father as well as the creepy characters he created.  The film uses this imagery throughout to highlight some of the strange entities that come into the father and daughter's life.  The creepy carnival old school aspect is great for keeping you on edge, and makes for some scary imagery.  Especially when dolls and other objects begin to move and interact, it will definitely keep you feeling uneasy.  I also really liked Rupert Friend as the father; he has a whimsical childlike nature at times and yet also feels like a father way over his head.  And Violet McGraw shows why she is both an amazing actor and a treat for the horror genre, providing an unsettling and sweet child that seems to be a conduit for the supernatural entities.  And I always love seeing Twisty Troy James in a horror film.  He adds a great, unsettling aspect with his otherworldly movement.  And I also did like a lot of the story, and the use of horror to add some unease to an already messy family situation.

But despite Separation's great atmosphere and inherent creepiness, the movie does have a few flaws.  For one the story does not come together in the end.  There is an interesting revelation that explains some things, but overall the supernatural aspect is not fulfilling when viewed in the full context.  And despite there being a heartfelt resolution, it still leaves something to be desired.  The spirits are not well explained and the explanation does not gel with what we find out later.  And the story tries to also wrap up some of the loose threads before the end, but this feels far too convenient.  The movie has a good introduction and a creepy build up, with a much more subdued sense of horror than I am used to, but the viewer is left wanting at the end.  Additionally, the film uses a lot of great practical effects (especially Twisty Troy and his amazing body contortions), but it has large chunks of CG.  These come into play during the scenes showing the outside of the house, which look obviously computer generated.  There are also strange red scenes involving the trees that are CG generated and take away from your engagement.  It made these sections feel almost illustrated, which I think was the intent given the father's job, but these cartoony aspects hurt the overall immersion.  It is just not that scary when someone is hanging on a ledge and it looks like they are about to jump into a comic scene.

Separation's inherently creepy creatures and good practical effects are hampered by an unfulfilling story and some less realistic CG touches.

Rent it.

Produced by  Jordan Beckerman	...	producer William Brent Bell	...	producer Russell Geyser	...	executive producer Jon Keeyes	...	co-producer Jesse Korman	...	producer Jordan Yale Levine	...	producer Siena Oberman	...	associate producer Jane Oster Sinisi	...	executive producer Clay Pecorin	...	producer Russ Posternak	...	producer Seth Posternak	...	executive producer Dennis Rice	...	executive producer
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Separation is available in theaters on April 30, 2021.  For tickets, click here.

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