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Static (A PopEntertainment.com Movie Review)

Updated: Sep 8, 2020


STATIC (2013)

Starring Milo Ventimiglia, Sarah Shahi, Sara Paxton, William Mapother, Dominic Bogart, Oz Kalvan, Luke Barnett, Brett Mann, John Hermann, Ahmad Russ, Brody Gusar, Joshua Stone, Preston Peterson, Carl McGrier, Devon Ogden and Sky McMullan.

Screenplay by Todd Levin, Gabriel Cowan and John Suits.

Directed by Todd Levin.

Distributed by Cinedigm Entertainment Group. 83 minutes. Rated R.

A young couple, author Jonathan Dade (Milo Ventimiglia of Heroes) and his wife Addie (Sarah Shahi of Fairly Legal), have been staying at a lovely huge house in deep isolated woods. They have been there a few years as he is working on finishing off his sophomore novel after having a surprise best-seller with his debut.

He enjoys the solitude and finds it conducive to his writing. She is growing a little stir crazy and can't wait for the book to be done so they can get back to the real world.

There is also a vague undercurrent that their toddler son has mysteriously disappeared (died?) several months before, though the couple tiptoes around the subject, not discussing their little boy for fear of upsetting the other.

Suddenly, a strange girl named Rachel (Sara Paxton) shows up at their secluded home. She claims to be a neighbor who had a tire blow-out. While she was trying to fix it in the dark, she noticed an odd man wearing a hoodie and a gas mask. Then she was followed to their home by yet more of these mysteriously dressed men. Can she please use their phone to get some help? And can she stay with the couple for a while until someone else shows up at her house?

But why does she make herself so comfortable in their home? And how does she know so much about their private life, the man's writing and their son's death?

Hmm, what is going on?

By the time that the men in the gas masks show up, kidnapping the girl and threatening the couple, chasing them into the woods, the audience is quite lost. Where exactly is this going?

To Static's credit, probably not where you think. The film is able to merge a couple of different horror styles with a sleight of hand that is intriguing. You're expecting one type of thriller, but Static turns out to be an entirely different sort of film.

And this little bit of narrative subversion takes what is a pretty standard B-horror movie and makes it more interesting than you were originally expecting.

The lead acting is quite strong, and though there are quite a few actors on hand here, the only roles of any real substance are Ventimiglia, Shahi and Paxton. All three are quite skilled at playing characters that have layers that are slowly unveiled as the plot unfolds. Paxton in particular has a tricky role: the audience is never sure throughout the film whether her character is good or has more sinister motives. When her part in the story is finally completely revealed, it is even more complex than you had imagined.

The final twist, while legitimately very surprising, is something of a variation on several earlier horror films, including one that about 15 years old and is recognized as a classic of the genre. I won't tell you which film I am discussing, because if I do Static's final surprise will be ruined. However, when you see Static, you will pick it up easily enough. I will say that Static does not quite nail the ending like that other film, but the surprise is still a fairly hard-hitting one.

Static is a better film than you realize, even as you are watching it.

Jay S. Jacobs

Copyright ©2013 PopEntertainment.com. All rights reserved. Posted: October 8, 2013.

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