Thursday, February 23, 2012

Pre-Release Screening Room: Nailbiter!

Nailbiter  (SenoReality Pictures, 2012)

Before the Camera:

Erin McGrane - Janet

Meg Saricks - Jennifer

Emily Boresow - Alice

Sally Spurgeon - Sally

Joicie Appell - Mrs. Shurman

Mark Ridgway - Sheriff

Ben Jeffreys - Deputy Carr


Behind the Camera:

Directed by Patrick Rea

Hanuman Brown-Eagle .... producer

Michael D. Coffey .... associate producer

Ryan S. Jones .... producer

Aaron Laue .... executive producer

Bobby McGee .... associate producer

Patrick Rea .... producer

Dan Simons .... associate producer

Kendal Sinn .... producer

Written by Patrick Rea and Kendal Sinn

A mother in Kansas is handling things alone and perhaps drinking a bit too much while her husband serves overseas when she finally gets word that his deployment is ending. She loads up her three daughters in the car and takes off to meet him the moment he steps off the plane. But it's storm season in this part of the country, and there have even been reports of tornados touching down in the towns the quartet is driving through. Sure enough, a nasty black funnel cloud appears in the distance, and the foursome is forced to vacate the auto and head for the nearest shelter - what appears to be an abandoned house with a large basement - just the place to hide out from a tornado.

Or is it? While the storm wails outside, the ladies discover the house is pretty creepy, and this is compounded when a tree falls across the door leading outside. Then things get worse when they realize the interior doors are locked, and the other shoe really drops when they notice boards being nailed over the windows. Someone or... something... wants them to stay inside...something vicious...and far more dangerous than any storm...

Meg Saricks advises getting a drink now if anyone's thirsty...

I thoroughly enjoyed this aptly named movie. After a slightly slow opening, the movie picks up and pulses with tension. It builds a story, gives us real characters, and features several goosebumps moments - meaning I got them watching it - no reference to any kid stuff horror - this is grown up scary stuff, so buckle up, buttercup! Beautifully shot by Rea's frequent collaborator Hanuman Brown-Eagle, this looks very sharp - from the gorgeous aerial shots that add copious production value through to the intense and artful lighting effects in the basement scenes, this movie looks amazing. The acting is not bad at all, with McGrane and Saricks standing out - which is good as they have the bulk of the dramatics on their plates. The other daughters bring a lot of enthusiasm to their roles, and handle them just fine. The supporting cast is good as well. There's not a lot of humor in the movie, as this is a mostly dark toned feature, but that works, as snarky humor too often gets out of hand in a movie like this. The CGI visual effects are well handled, maximizing the storm scenes without drawing very much attention to the fact that there is CGI going on by staying brief and quickly edited. Even better are the practical effects, with truly wicked looking creatures that take their time showing themselves, but make it worth the wait when they do appear. The film's not a gorefest - but has violent moments that will make you cringe. Every department handles their assigned tasks with talent and aplomb, and it is all marshalled to the screen by the fine direction of Patrick Rea. It is a low budget independent movie, so there are points where the budget is strained, or a performance might hit a rough patch, but once again Rea and his producing partners have worked wonders with the money they had and turned out a feature that I definitely recommend when it becomes available.

Patrick Rea is definitely a filmmaker to watch - and I mean that in every sense of the phrase - watch his movies, and keep an eye on him - there's more good stuff to come I'm sure! In the meantime, he and his producer partners are working on a distribution deal for Nailbiter - hopefully that will come soon and everyone will be able to check this one out!

Let's Get Out of Here ?

At around 41:50, Ben Jeffreys decides there are better places to be, and hopes he'll have company heading that way.

Eye Candy ?

Yes, three new inductees!

Meg Saricks

Erin McGrane

Michelle Davidson

Welcome to the list, ladies!

My thanks to Patrick Rea for providing the excellent screener disc -and until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!


  1. kick-ass review for a kick-ass movie. I loved it! The sequel is already in the works - superexcited!!! :)

    1. Thank you sir - yeah, we double featured it with the 70's TV movie fave Trilogy of Terror - worked well together! Lovin' the idea of Still Nailbiting!

  2. I'm waiting for my Nailbiter screener... I should receive it till the end of this week and I can't wait! I'm very thankful to director Patrick Rea for sending me a screener.

    Great review, Craig. Now I'm more excited about it than I was before reading your review. :)

    1. I hope it arrives even more quickly - can't wait to read what you think!

      Wow - very kind of you to say! I hope you enjoy the stuffing out of it!

  3. Looks good. Where can I watch it? I'm pretty sure it won't be playing at my local cineplex.

    1. Luana - currently Patrick Rea and his partners are meeting with several distribution companies and are screening the movie for them - when a deal is struck - the movie will get a release date. The most likely would probably be direct to video, but there's enough production values on view that I'd love for them to get a small theatrical run first! I'll keep you posted as I learn more!

  4. A passionate and thorough review, my friend. I would love, love to see this as I have a certain fondnes for creepy basements and monsters. ;)

  5. Monsters?! Did you say Monsters?! (insert super-smile here)

    1. I'd like to read your review of this one, Kaijinu!

  6. Saw this a couple weeks back. Phenomenal flick and a fresh take on an old horror concept. This is the first film in a long time that I genuinely feels desperately NEEDS a sequel!

    1. Absolutely! I'm glad you liked it - if you come back to read this - if you reviewed it - leave a link here so we can send people on a never ending Nailbiter review loop!