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Amber Road

USA 2022
produced by
Hans Hernke, Rob Mahoney, Chris Sanders, Jj Wood, B. Luciano Barsuglia (executive), Barry R. Barsuglia (executive), Betty Barsuglia (executive) for Koa Aloha Media
directed by B. Luciano Barsuglia
starring Rachel Riley, Elissa Dowling, William McNamara, Janet Wang, Tom Sizemore, Robert LaSardo, Vernon Wells, Jed Rowen, Tasha Tacosa, BJ Mezek, Mike Ferguson, Ames Tiedeman, Hans Hernke, Gregory Blair, Crystal J. Huang, Kasey Brown, Lisa Hinds, Dave Shecter, Kyrillos Saber, Paul Bradford, Austin Wyatt Tiedeman, Chris Giese, Ana Harrison, Dan Kern, Dom Poniac, Andrew Roberts, Tracy Lear, Skylar Lear
written by B. Luciano Barsuglia, music by Robert Aquato

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Available on DVD !

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On first look, these two stories have nothing in common: On one side, there's Pauline (Rachel Riley), the local mortician, who keeps a couple, James (William McNamara) and Mary (Janet Wang) in her basement, tied to chairs, and she, over the course of days, cuts off more and more of their limbs while keeping them alive to see them suffer. But she doesn't do it for mere sadistic pleasure, she does so on a live show transmitted to the darkest corners of the dark web, and she's well-paid for her services. On the other hand, we have Emma (Elissa Dowling), a grieving widow and cop-on-leave, whose husband, also a cop, has been killed investigating child murders. That her husband has left her a very healthy sum in life insurance is a bit of a solace, but hardly makes up for her loss. What they do have in common is they are both questioned by shady private eye Hillier (Hans Hernke) about the disappearance of James and Mary, but while Pauline gets rid of him quite easily, Emma claims to know nothing about the case. And that said, Emma's friends Deke (Jed Rowen) and Reyna (Tasha Tacosa) are somehow involved with Pauline's activities on the dark web ...

This film features more horror faves in bigger and smaller roles than one can shake a stick at, including Tom Sizemore and Robert LaSardo as dark web users, Vernon Wells as sheriff, Mike Ferguson as FBI agent, and Gregory Blair as insurance agent.

 

Now first of all, this is not a movie for those weak of heart (or stomach) as it doesn't exactly shy away from torture and dismemberment, and while it doesn't exactly go overboard when it comes to gruesomeness, it also leaves very little to the imagination - which of course makes sense, given the movie's very gruesome subject matter. But to reduce Amber Road to just a piece of torture porn would be dead wrong, as the film's really a murder mystery created as a puzzle that only slowly falls together, and it's cleverly enough constructed that in the end nothing is what it seemed, and yet everything makes perfect sense. And very strong performances by the leads Rachel Riley and Elissa Dowling, supported by an equally solid ensemble, bring this piece to life rather beautifully and make it an intentionally disturbing yet totally worthwhile watch.

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review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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Tales to Chill
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Tales to Chill
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a collection of short stories and mini-plays
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Tales to Chill
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Out now from
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On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
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you can't decide
WHICH IS WORSE!!!

 

A Killer Conversation

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