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The Medium (2007)

DVD Cover (Makeshift Pictures)
Genres:
Haunted House Film, Horror, Supernatural Horror
Director:
Ben Wydeven Ben Wydeven
Starring:
Jarrod Crooks Jarrod Crooks
Jeffrey Glenn Jeffrey Glenn
Jessica Strom Jessica Strom
Dan Burger Dan Burger
Jonathan Aldrich Jonathan Aldrich

4.8 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Review by Chad
Added: July 09, 2007
It's time for another indie horror short, and surprisingly enough, this one isn't focused on zombies or serial killers. I know, it's sort of hard to believe (well, it is for me - you should see the pile of unwatched movies I've got going here), and making things even better is the fact that it's an old-fashioned haunted "house" film. Now, technically, it's not a house - it's a movie theater - but you get the idea, and since I love a good ghost story, it sort of goes without saying that I had high hopes for this one.

The storyline is simple and wastes no time getting down to business, as we immediately catch up with Raven James (Jarrod Crooks) and his girlfriend walking by a rundown movie theater when Raven notices a ghostly woman standing inside. Later, Raven returns to the theater in order to get to the bottom of this mystery, and we quickly learn two things: one, Raven is a medium (a person who can communicate with the dead), and two, the owner of this theater (Jeffrey Glenn) isn't too keen on people poking around in his building. What has he got to hide, and why is he so edgy about someone investigating these supernatural events? Plunk down your five bucks for the disc and find out for yourself.

Although I enjoyed the film, I really wished that it could have ran for another ten minutes or so. It runs for a little over twenty minutes as is, but there are certain elements of the story that I wished they'd have explored just a little more (or explored at all, while we're at it). I won't go into detail about this in the review, but viewers will likely know what I mean if they decide to give the film a shot. This was really my only complaint about the story as a whole, and to be honest, it's not even that big of a complaint; after all, some things work out better when they're left unsaid and the viewer is forced to come up with their own conclusions, and since I'm not entirely sure where they could have went with the story had they chosen to explain these things, perhaps it was for the best in this case.

Most of the film is dialogue-driven, which is usually the kiss of death in these indie films. I hate to generalize when it comes to a huge chunk of films spread out across all of the available genres, but I'm just calling them like I see them: most indie productions feature friends and family in the leading roles, so good acting abilities usually aren't a prerequisite for top billing. Not so with The Medium. While there were a few spots that could have done with a reshoot or some line tweaking, the two leading men did a surprisingly good job with their parts and kept me interested from start to finish.

I also particularly enjoyed the look of the film, much of which can be attributed to the fact that they shot it in an actual rundown movie theater that had been closed for years prior to shooting. This is not a case of a clean setting that has been dressed up to look dingy and abandoned - this is an honest-to-goodness dump (I mean that in the nicest way), and the result is a film that draws the viewer in just that much more. According to some of the press material on the filmmakers' official site, this film was inspired by claims that this building was actually haunted; while I can't verify or deny that personally, I will say that I could easily believe it after taking a digital tour through there.

Overall, I enjoyed it. Fans of old-fashioned ghost stories who want to see a great story unfold in a believable setting with some genuinely creepy special effects should check it out - and be on the lookout for a possible prequel. I know that I'll be waiting for it. 8/10.
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