A Secret Handshake (2007)

DVD Cover (York Entertainment)
Harsh Warrdhan Harsh Warrdhan
Danielle Bitton Danielle Bitton
Subash Chand Subash Chand
Devon Marcel Clark III Devon Marcel Clark III
Kennedy Danko Kennedy Danko
Philip Hersh Philip Hersh

3.7 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Paranoid Thriller, Psychological Thriller, Thriller
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Review by Chad
Added: May 14, 2007
Finally, after watching so many repetitive films that use the same exact plots and twists, a thriller comes along that was refreshingly original and left me guessing until the very end. How has this film been overlooked for so long by so many people... it doesn't even have five ratings over on IMDb yet! I just don't get those readers and clickers over there sometimes, and this is definitely one of those times.

The film focuses on Jacob (Robert Olding) and his wife Carmen (Jessica Landon), a young couple who are going through a rough time in their marriage due to Jacob's stress and his lack of effective ways to handle said stress: in other words, he takes it all out on her, leading to an almost nightly argument. One night, after a couple of particularly nasty words have been said, Jacob goes to bed... and wakes up in a strange hotel room where he is chained to a bed. An attractive nurse (Danielle Bitton) soon enters the room and Jacob thinks that he's going to get lucky, but as it turns out, this nurse is there to torture him. Then, he wakes up, safe and sound in his own bed.

Was it all a dream? That is for you readers to find out on your own, but Jacob sure doesn't think so: after all, he has the wounds to prove that something actually happened. However, his wife and friends claim that he went to San Francisco for an entire weekend on a business trip, and they also mention that they talked to him daily on the phone while he was there... and they have the cell phone records and hotel receipts to prove it. Jacob doesn't remember anything about going to San Francisco though, so needless to say, confusion reigns supreme - and then it happens again. And again, and once more for good measure.

Reading this description, you're probably thinking that this sounds an awful lot like a couple of other amnesia-related films that have been released over the last couple of years, but that couldn't be further from the truth as there are some genuinely shocking twists made throughout the film. I'm almost positive that you'll be wrong regardless of who or what you may think is responsible for this extremely interesting plot device before going into the movie, and that, my friends, was an accomplishment.

I can't talk too much about the film in this review as it's a very linear experience: you really have to see the first act of the film to understand what happens in the second act and the same can be said about the latter parts. The problem here is that to say much more than what was said above would spoil things far too much, and trust me when I say that there's much more to the plot than what I spelled out already. I will, however, say that I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline presented here and found that the logic and final revelation was brilliant. My only fault with the film was some minor padding issues around the middle of the running time, but that can be overlooked in the grand scheme of things when the vast majority of the movie is this good.

One of the things that I can discuss was the performance turned in by leading man Robert Olding. His costar in the film, Jessica Landon, was nothing special: she was there, she read her lines, she filled the part, and that's about it. There's technically nothing I can complain about in regards to her performance, but it's certainly nothing memorable either. Olding, however, is another story. This man was damned good in his role, and I was shocked to discover that he hasn't been involved in any bigger productions throughout his career. Be on the lookout for this man as he definitely has the talent to make it big.

Definitely worth the rental or even a purchase if you're a fan of the mindfuck thriller that leaves you guessing until the very end. Highly recommended. 9/10.
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Chad #1: Chad - added 05/14/2007, 12:52 PM
I can't fault the actual movie for this, but do those clowns over at York Entertainment even preview their discs before shipping them out? Releasing a movie without a menu is one thing, but to release a disc with a menu that consists of nothing more than the date and time of the pressing takes a lot of "talent."
bluemeanie #2: bluemeanie - added 05/14/2007, 01:12 PM
Well, what kind of copy did you get from them? That stuff usually depends on how you acquired that particular copy.
Chad #3: Chad - added 05/14/2007, 01:15 PM
I got a retail copy of it. I'd assume it was an early version if it was a screener or some such, but for a retail edition... shudder.
bluemeanie #4: bluemeanie - added 05/14/2007, 01:20 PM
Was this a retail copy at like a chain store or something like that? Internet?
Chad #5: Chad - added 05/14/2007, 01:52 PM
Netflix. I suppose it's possible that they got a bad batch directly from York that was different from what you'd get at Wal*Mart or wherever, but I've been with them for years now and never seen that happen.
bluemeanie #6: bluemeanie - added 05/14/2007, 05:32 PM
Yeah, it looks to me like one just slipped in by accident. It was probably just a screener that got mixed in with the retail batch. I doubt they do that with most of their releases because...well...they would probably not last very long. Now I want to get the film just so I can see if it is an isolated event. Most of the reviews I have read have not been very positive at all and yours is really the only positive one I have read, thus far. Damn it -- if I invest time into watching this and it turns out to be a rotting pieces of shit, I am going to put a hex on your colon. That's right -- a hex. That's right -- your colon.
Chad #7: Chad - added 05/14/2007, 05:56 PM
The only thing that may turn you off to the film is its budget - it's pretty apparent that the filmmakers didn't have access to millions of dollars and high-end cameras, but if you can deal with that in exchange for a damned fine story, it's worth it.
bluemeanie #8: bluemeanie - added 05/14/2007, 06:47 PM
Well...aren't you just making me want to see it more and more (detected sarcasm). Yeah, I typically don't care about the budget, as long as the performances are solid and the script is crackling. But, if they used a Sony HandiCam, then I don't know how accessible it will be to me.
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