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Abstruse
Into a Dark Mind

USA 2019
produced by
Nancy Oeswein, Harley Wallen, Annette Cama (executive), Nick Sarelli (executive) for Painted Creek Productions, Carribean Fury Productions, Auburn Moon Productions
directed by Harley Wallen
starring Tom Sizemore, Dennis Haskins, Kris Reilly, Kaiti Wallen, Jesi Jensen, Harley Wallen, Jerry Hayes, Dennis Marin, Henry Frost III, Jessika Johnson, Joe Piazza, Nick Sarelli, Colleen Gentry, Angelina Danielle Cama, Mo El-Zaatari, Kimberly Alley, Destiny Hughbanks, Shelby Bradley, Daniel Jeffries, Jason Bowen, Michael Barbee, Spring JoyLynn
written by Harley Wallen, music by Kaizad Patel

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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It all starts very much on the innocent side - well, innocent-ish mind you, when Justin (Kris Reilly) and his best friend Daniel (Dennis Marin) pick up two barmaids, Mindy (Jessika Johnson) and Amanda (Kaiti Wallen) at their favourite dive and lure them back to Justin's place in hope of getting them drunk and trick them into doing porn. Things get out of hand when Justin strangles Mindy to death. Amanda makes a hasty escape and goes right to the police, but when Detectives Caldwell (Harley Wallen) and Morris (Jerry Hayes) search Justin's apartment, they can't find a trace of any murder, let alone the victim of course. And they're quick to turn the tables on Amanda, claiming to have found LSD in her blood. And why? Because Justin is the son of Senator Stevens (Dennis Haskins), that's why, and the good senator has Caldwell on his payroll.

Amanda though is not one to let the death of her best friend just be swept under the rug - but unfortunately she has nobody to support her but her father Max (Tom Sizemore), an ex-convict who has been doing time for murder, and the police would just love any opportunity to pick him up and arrest him again. On the other side, the senator of course has all the bases covered - all but one that is, and that's Justin himself, who doesn't like to be told what to do and repeatedly foils his dad and Detective Caldwell's plans to keep him out of trouble, to the extent where he actually kills his own best friend Daniel ... and weirdly enough, this at first seems like a stroke of genius, as Max is found at the scene of the crime and arrested for Daniel's murder - and who really would believe an ex-con's claim of innocence?

Thing is, Justin doesn't stop here but aims higher and higher in how much he can get away with, and proves to be a total psycho in the process, so much so that even his father puts out a hit on him - but psycho he may be, Justin isn't stupid, and plans his murders rather meticulously, and of course, ultimately his lethal path leads back to Amanda ...

 

If there's one thing that Abstruse is not it's a feel-good movie - instead, the film is set in a neo-noirish world where there is no clear distinction between good and evil, where police work and politics are only more respectable facades for dirty business, and where it's not always clear that people get what they deserve - or indeed too much of it. All of this is brought to life by a well-structured script that handles its ensemble cast of characters very well without losing the plot in the process, a directorial effort heavy on suspense and tension, and solid performances from all involved.

Well worth a watch for sure!

 

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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On the same day
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WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

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produced by and starring
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directed by
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written by
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starring
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out now on DVD