Popular horror screenwriter Grafton Torn wakes up screaming in a hospital room and suffering from amnesia, unable to recall how he ended up lying face down at the bottom of his stairs. His special effects friend, Deter, offers Grafton his woodsy cabin, isolated from town, to relax from the extreme nightmares that plague him. Soon Grafton’s nightmares become a blur between dream and reality, constantly causing him to question his sanity when movie prop objects go missing, unexplainable mental blackouts, and visions of people brutally murdered. Grafton must sift through the bitter memories of his separation with his wife Cat and ghastly manifestations of horror to seek the truth of his insanity or he’ll die trying.
I spent my New Years Eve night with Bill Oberst Jr. and his performance in the horror-thriller “Deadly Revisions” was better than gazing at explosively colorful fireworks. While the rest of the drunkard world partied stupidly away, counting down the year’s end, “Deadly Revisions” had been summoning me with a familiar “Evil Dead” cabin in the ominous woods gracing the front cover art. Honestly, I wasn’t expecting much from the Gregory Blair directed film because of the SGL Entertainment distribution company whom usually acquires and distributes low-end independent horror that’s generally amiss favorably. And even though that ominous front cover cabin in the woods wasn’t exactly ominous in the actual movie, this SGL production deemed to be a diamond in the most dirtiest of roughs; a shining example proving that all is not what is seems.
Just the mere name Grafton Torn sounds like name of a Bill Oberst Jr. character role, but the character seemed even keeled and intelligently acute to his surroundings which doesn’t usually fit the bill of Bill’s unusual characters. Just in recollecting previous films, Oberst played numerous zany characters such as a crazed werewolf in “Werewolf Rising,” a zombie news reporter in “Zombie World,” and a murderous child rapist in “Krampus: The Christmas Devil.” Though Oberst portrays lunacy frighteningly well, he outperformed his other more enthusiastic roles with Grafton Torn by composing himself properly and being more reactive to the possibility of insanity.
Where in the world did Gregory Blair come from? Blair certainly has a talented eye for the horror genre or at least an inspired taste to shape and mold a familiar setting with horror fans. The latter is more likely with minor characters suggestively named after horror icons; such characters are named Nurse Voorhees (Jason Voorhees reference) and Doctor Myers (Michael Myers reference). With no previous directorial credits to his name, “Deadly Revisions” is the freshman film for Blair under the direction and penmanship categories. Well edited, great angles, and quality effects contribute to a well received viewing. The long time actor also had a minor role in the film and helped produce the film in conjunction with PIX/SEE Productions, capturing a few awards during “Deadly Revisions” two-year journey to home video, including a win for Best Narrative Feature at the Los Angeles Movie Awards and Best Screenplay at the Terror Film Festival.
The story will keep one guessing and, technically, the ending goes unforeseen. Blair’s puzzling horror-thriller produces bluffs upon bluffs upon bluffs, manufacturing an unpredictable and murky ending. Blair quickly jabs in minor hints to the finale that don’t TKO until the end and his writing scheme and direction puts the unwitting protagonist Grafton, and the unwitting viewer, in a whirlwind state of total confusion and distressing fear that’s highly valuable for a film with restricted independent capacities. Even though “Deadly Revisions” took shape in 2013, the DVD didn’t hit shelves until 2015 and I can frankly state that “Deadly Revisions” has one of the best narratives I’ve seen this past year in independent horror.
“Deadly Revisions” makes the 2015 underrated list for sure. Technically and entertainingly, the Gregory Blair and Bill Oberst Jr. collaboration models a damn good thrilling story. Don’t be fooled by the generically tacky DVD cover art; instead, make the effort go forward with this reviewer’s positive recommendation and be pleasantly surprised and delightfully terrified. If a negative comment had to be made about this film, the DVD quality could use some work with the darker digitally shot scenes. Posterization and noise clout much of the night time scenes, annoying creating a speckled blob effect that briefly causes narrative loss – a familiarity with the likes of SGL Productions.