Tag Archives: fear x

PSYCHO IN THE WATER BY KENT HILL

Rolfe Kanefsky is back at it again, impressing the hell outta me by doing so much on a budget. This time there’s no possessed paintings that help plug you in to the terror. No dear readers….if there is a pool in your backyard…YOU…COULD…BE….NEXT!

In this engrossing hybrid, Kanefsky takes elements of FEAR (1996), PACIFIC HEIGHTS and Hitchcock’s PSYCHO and fuses them into this impressive debt of one, Tanner Zagarino. Yes, Zagarino. Readers out there familiar with the SHADOWCHASER movies will thrill to learn Tanner is the son of the man, the legend, Frank Zagarino. And, let me tell you, I can’t wait to see this young fella progress. He goes from Prince Charming to Norman Bates in the batting of an eyelash, and there are moments when Tanner’s character is at his silently starring at you from distance best. Those are the same menacing eyes I see in his father watching SHADOWCHASER and it was a shiver up my spine kinda time.

The strong female lead of the movie, Jessica Morris, is so dependable and I love her work under Kanefsky’s direction. It was a thrill at last to catch up with Sarah French, who gets to be that all-important first victim. The cast is rounded out with solid performances, and Rolfe is good at building tension and anticipation of the moment; the reason I feel he is a luminous presence and original voice in this genre he seems to command.

Pool Boy Nightmare is a sexy suspense thriller about Gale (Jessica Morris, Art of the Dead) a divorced woman and her 18 year old daughter, Becca (Ellie-Darcey Alden, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2) who have just moved into a new home that comes with a beautiful pool in the back yard. Gale hires Adam (Tanner Zagarino, son of action star Frank Zagarino, in his film debut), a local pool boy who used to work for the previous owner, Rhonda (Sarah French, Automation) who died in a “freak drowning” accident. Turns out that Adam has a thing for older women and has a fling with Gale. Knowing she made a mistake, Gale ends the affair quickly but Adam is a very determined young man. He starts dating Becca, Gale’s daughter, to make Gale jealous. As the twisted love triangle heats up, danger also mounts since Adam will do just about anything to get the woman he wants! As Jackie, Becca’s best friend (Cynthia Aileen Strahan, Art of the Dead) and Gale’s ex-husband, Tony (Clark Moore, Stumptown) soon discover, Adam is not only obsessed but very dangerous! In the end, nobody is safe from this POOL BOY NIGHTMARE!

DIRECTOR’S STATEMENT:

Although Rolfe Kanefsky has been writing and directing movies for over thirty years in multiple genres, this is the first time he has both written and directed a Lifetime thriller with POOL BOY NIGHTMARE. Rolfe has worked in the Lifetime world for years, having authored the productions of “WATCH YOUR BACK” aka “KILLER PHOTO” starring AnnaLynne McCord, “DEADLY SORORITY” with Greer Grammar and Moira Kelly, as well as “STALKED BY MY PATIENT”, “DEADLY VOWS” and “THE WRONG BABYSITTER” starring Daphne Zuniga.

Being a big fan of classic television thrillers from the ’70s and ’80s, Rolfe saw this as an opportunity to embrace the feel that Steven Spielberg created with his first television movies like “DUEL” and “SOMETHING EVIL” as well as Dan Curtis’ classics “THE NIGHT STRANGLER”, “TRILOGY OF TERROR” and “DEAD OF NIGHT”.

“I wanted to make something sexy and suspenseful that still fit in the Lifetime mode but created some visual tension and a little more style that is currently found in today’s television thrillers. Although we didn’t have a lot of time or money, I was determined to shoot this as a real theatrical movie. Getting my DP, Michale Su, who has shot my last two flicks, “ART OF THE DEAD” and “BUS PARTY TO HELL” was a great help and we pulled off some great moments of tension and action. I was also able to pull together a great cast. I wrote the script with Jessica Morris is mind to play Gale. Having recently worked with her in ART OF THE DEAD and her track record with these kind of thrillers, she was perfect and glorious in this role. I was also able to get Cynthia Aileen Strahan and Sarah French into the cast. They were also recently in my ART OF THE DEAD flick and fantastic as always. I was excited to discover two overall newcomers. Ellie-Darcey Alden sent in an audition tape which impressed me. When she came in for a callback, I was even more impressed to find out that she was British, having done a flawless American accent. Ellie had a small part in one of the Harry Potter movies when she was very young. I knew she and Jessica, playing mother and daughter, would really capture the dramatic moments of the piece and their scenes together are some of the highlights, elevating the acting that is usually found in these kind of movies.”

“And then there’s the “pool boy” himself. In his first acting job ever, Tanner Zagarino landed the role of Adam, the dangerously sexy villain. The funny thing about this casting is that I immediately recognized Tanner’s last name, Zagarino because years ago, I had worked with an actor named Frank Zagarino who made a lot of B action and sci-fi films back in the day. I had written an action thriller script called “SHATTERED LIES” that starred Frank Zagarino and his wife, Elizabeth Giordano. They also produced the film and happen to be the father and mother of Tanner. I think Tanner was like 3 or 4 years old at the time. So, cut to 17 years later and I’m directing their son in his first motion picture. It’s a small world.”

Now I present my chats with wonderful and beautiful Sarah French, and the talented breakout Tanner Zagarino….

TANNER ZAGARINO

SARAH FRENCH

POOL BOY NIGHTMARE premieres on The Lifetime Channel on Labor Day, Monday, September 7th at 8:00 pm as part of their “End Of The Summer Marathon”. It plays again later that night and the following Sunday, September 13th at 7:00 pm and throughout the month. Check your local listings for showtimes and airings. Visit MyLifetime.

Nicholas Winding Refn’s Fear X: A review by Nate Hill

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Before Nicholas Winding Refn blew up into the big time with intense, stylish stuff like Bronson, Drive and Valhalla Rising, and after he made his bloody emergence into cinema with Pusher, he made another film that no one seems to remember or even even like all that much. It’s easy to see why Fear X wasn’t that well received or remembered: it’s choppy and confusing, even by Refn’s terms, and doesn’t pull it’s third act into a cohesive resolution, instead favoring a disconcertingly surreal descent into subconscious, abstract imagery, which we all know (the careers of Lynch and others are examples) is an aesthetic not always absorbed by the most open of minds when it comes to the masses. Now that we got that out of the way, here’s my take. I adore the film. It’s a skitchy Midwestern nightmare that starts of gently gnawing at the fringes of your perception with a sense of dread that’s intangible in its possibility, an outcome as vast and unknowable as the desolate prairie setting that calls to mind the fear and degradation of Fargo without an ounce of its good humour, black or otherwise. John Turturro inhabits this setting with a twitchy, anxious aura, suggesting a haunted mindscape beneath those famous curls. And well he should be haunted, considering his wife recently disappeared without a trace. For him, not knowing what happened is worse than any kind of grisly answer, for its a sick hollowness that chokes out any room for him to grieve. He works by day as a mall security guard, busting shoplifters and scanning snowy surveillance screens to distract himself. Then, his co-worker (Stephen Eric Mcintyre) hands him a videotape that may contain answers and be the first breadcrumb in a trail leading to his wife’s killer, and possibly his solace. In a lot of films and shows like these, the protagonist ventures to a small town with sordid secrets simmering just beneath the crust of the cheerful looking pie held by the pretty waitress at the local diner. Some artists find their own groove without riffing on other’s work too much, and some fall flat-footed into derivitive motions. Refn is bold yet subtle in his direction once Turturro arrives in the town, and casts a deceptively innocuous  yet insidiously creepy spell over the proceedings. It’s essentially where the film really exits utero and manifests, the danger before that was only glimpsed on the horizon now a very real possibility, like waking up from a bad dream into a worse reality. Turturro is met with cold stares and grim greetings, especially by a deputy who becomes predatory upon seeing part of the clues he has brought with him, vaguely tied to a local resident. From there he is led to a suspicious Sheriff (James Remar), and the sheriff’s wife (Deborah Kara Unger). Remar may have been involved in his wife’s death, and he plays with the curtain of his performance wonderfully, pulling it back ever so slightly in scenes with Unger (some of his best work) and stirring up confusion while menacing Turturro. It’s an unheralded best from him and a rare occasion where he gets to be subtle and eerie, as opposed to his usual brash, cocky characters. Unger is similar to Remar in the sense that she has made a point over the course of her career in picking obscure, challenging and unique roles to play. In playing a couple here they feel kind of star-crossed just by the nature of their careers, fed by their smoldering  chemistry. The film proceeds like any thriller would, with only intangible hints at the weirdness to come, until the last half of the third act, where it abandons logic completely and dives headlong into a dreamlike abyss of surreality, without a readily discernable warning or narrative signpost. Is Turturro unstable? Or is it Remar? Or are events just taking a turn fpr the supernatural as a result of the town messing with people’s psyches, a la The Shining? We will never know, and honestly I doubt Refn did, or ever will either. It’s him in the sandbox, free from logic or consequence, and hate it with all your might if you wish, but you can’t deny it’s a psychologically galvanizing experience that toys with your perception  and spooks to the core. The film deals with themes of not knowing, and open ended tragedy masked by confusion and spiraling ‘what ifs’. Perhaps Refn implemented all the metaphysical hoo-hah as an extreme metaphor for Turturro’s consciousness, fractured and torn by the absence of resolution to the point of madness. Or maybe Refn just likes making weird shit. That’s the eternal debate with artists like him and Lynch: do they have some plan, a secret marauders map to the strangeness that they present to us on screen which only they are privy too, or are they simply making it up as they go along, hurling paint at the canvas until they are satisfied with the result, regardless of comprehending it? We’ll never know, and that for me is the beauty of it. With Fear X Refn crafts a polarizing thriller that is the very proto – example of ‘love it or hate it’. It’s definitely not for everyone. But love it or hate it, there’s no escaping it’s power.