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.
Ada and her boyfriend Calvin love each other tremendously, but Calvin finds difficulty in their intimacy when Ada continues to push him away, as if hurting her, in the middle of intercourse. Her sexual dysfunction puts a strain on their marriage, but Calvin has a plan that he hopes will resolve Ada’s, as well as Calvin’s, intimacy issue. His plan involves travelling to her hometown of Sheol, Oklahoma where much of Ada’s childhood memories seem to have been repressed and might be the root cause of her mental blockage. When they arrive at Sheol, they’re not exactly welcome as the town’s deranged inhabitants have a bible-thumping darkness about them and they don’t agree with Ada’s and Calvin’s lifestyle. When the couple try to escape, the town won’t let them.
Director Lex Lybrand helms the “Meet Me There” story, written by Brandon Stroud, and Lybrand seems to lose the structure as soon our hero and heroine arrive in the town of Sheol. The film tries to relay underlining messages about sexual dysfunctions, repressed or fragmented memories, suicide, paranoia, and, of course, just plain lethal psychosis. In short, “Meet Me There” attempts to mask the mental repercussions of childhood atrocities with a story about a couple becoming trapped in a town of deadly druids and God-fearing folk. Lybrand didn’t quite pull off the effect I think he was going for and that was creating an overall nightmarish realm without no escape, like a bad dream you’re unable to awake from, and what was missing was smooth segues to keep the glue together for the plot to naturally play out.
The story’s outer shell might be compromised, but only technically from a director’s chair. The introductory story of two complete strangers meeting at an airport bar, flying in separate passenger seats to Sheol, renting a car together to head to the same destination, and only to blow their brains out in a field at the same instance becomes lost in reason without the backup of exposition. However, the story of how Ada overcomes her sexual dysfunction and her fragmented memories can’t be any clearer and once she realizes and understands her upbringing involving drugged up parents, a creepy Grandfather, and a verbally abusive father, she bangs Calvin in the middle of the field, half naked and without care.
Lisa Friedrich and Michael Foulk as Ada and Calvin make a mediocre convincing couple. Their tattoos and choice of music, whether created for their characters or in most micro-budget productions the actors just have to bring themselves, labels them as rebellious to which heightens the towns’ scrutiny upon them. Foulk has great timing in his delivery when being comical with Ada, fairing rather naturally for him. Friedrich’s character lumbers a good amount of the film; her spacey attitude leaves nothing to desire and her character becomes dislikeable. I don’t blame Friedrich for a character written too sluggish and poorly for viewing comfort because even when Ada triumphs over her problems, she’s still very out of sorts.
Ada and Calvin don’t really have a single antagonist pitted against them; basically, the whole town is against them. WWE’s Golddust, aka Dustin Runnels, is one of a many wrestlers who appear in “Meet Me There,” along with other unknown wrestling talents such as Addy Starr, Leva Bates, and Angelus Layne, and is also one of the villains as the town’s preacher. There’s also Ada’s paranoid Aunt who severely disapproves of Ada’s lifestyle choices, the country store bumpkins who wield shotguns, the cloaked orgy-committing druids, and etc. Now, that all might sound enticing, but only the orgy gives a little stimulating thrill to the bone. I would like to know who set fire to Ada and Calvin’s car because the effect is priceless; when Ada and Calvin return to her aunt’s house to flee town, their car is set to inferno and someone on the crew thought that a matchbox car with blazing flames through the windows and being shot up real close would be pass for a great special effect. I admit, the effect kind of works, but still hilariously executed.
“Meet Me There,” distributed by MVDVisual and produced by SGL Entertainment, is presented in a widescreen presentation with a standard 2.0 mix. The images a bit grainy with dark tones during night scenes. Overall, “Meet Me There” needs a bigger catalyst to get Ada and Calvin into a more dire situation, but the sensation of being in a bad dream is achieved here yet the transitions from act-to-act or even scene-to-scene becomes muddled. Check out Lex Lybrand’s “Meet Me There” and see what the town of Sheol has in store for our hero and heroine.