Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews - By Fans For Fans



Directed by Dane Elcar.
Starring Dana Berger, Max Woertendyke.
Science-Fiction, US, 84 minutes, certificate 15.


Released in the UK On Digital and VOD 21st March by Cinephobia Releasing.


Who doesn’t enjoy a good time loop movie? With the likes of Groundhog Day, Edge Of Tomorrow and Happy Death Day being notable examples, the dilemma of a character trying to break free from a set of pre-ordained events over and over has also in recent years become a field of interest for a number of genre directors. At the lower end of the budget scale films such as COHERENCE, TRIANGLE and TIMECRIMES helped make the name of their respective writers and directors, maybe some more than others, but the use of a limited set of events in a limited location can often prove fertile ground for the skills for a smart storyteller.


Dane Elcar’s debut BRIGHTWOOD is very much on the lower budget end of the scale, attempting to make the most of its very limited resources. The characters, a squabbling married couple out for a run, and the location; a vast forest set around a large pond, set the stage for a film that impresses with its smart characterisation and a daringly dark final act that really delves into the more purgatorial aspects of this sub-genre.


Dana Berger plays Jen, fed up with her husband Dan, played by Max Woertendyke, and his wandering eye for her female co-workers. Hungover and looking to get back in the good books Dan tags along uninvited on an early morning jog. Drowning out his excuse for an apology while listening to a preparing for divorce podcast, Jen is determined to outrun her husband, not just around the pond but in life itself. However, the estranged couple find themselves stuck in another rut as they soon discover that they are unable to leave the forest, literally walking in circles as the day does not seem to go on.


As an examination of a broken relationship BRIGHTWOOD soon descends into a study of a pair of characters who are equally as annoying as each other, forced to air their grievances to not only break the crushing pattern of their lives but of the land and timescape they have unwittingly found themselves trapped in. Patience is tested not only by these flawed protagonists but the repetitive structure of the film itself. While this could be because of an all too visibly constrained budget, Elcar soon finds a way out of this set of events by stretching out into increasingly darker territory.


Those looking for answers for why this is all happening may find themselves short-changed here, although one significant line of dialogue early on seems to point it out, but those of a more patient nature may find themselves more impressed by the existential corner that the film, and by extension the characters, are backed into with a final sequence that goes for nihilism but in an oddly touching fashion.


Made for seemingly next to nothing it seems to point to a promising future for Dane Elcar. Given more of a budget he could go on to accomplish even more impressive results with more of a budget to match the visuals for the purgatorial sensibility that is all too apparent here. Expanded from his own 2018 short THE POND, it is obviously a theme he is all too keen to explore and maybe we will get to experience it once more in an even more impressive fashion. After all, who doesn’t enjoy a good time loop movie?


Iain MacLeod.



This web site is owned and published by London FrightFest Limited.


FrightFest is the registered trade mark of London FrightFest Limited.

© 2000 - 2024

Film, DVD, Blu-Ray & Streaming Reviews
By Fans For Fans