Movie Review: Pod (2016)
Director: Mickey Keating
Cast: Lauren Ashley Carter, Dean Cates, Brian Morvant
Synopsis: Two siblings travel to the home of their psychologically disturbed brother, who claims to have an alien trapped in his basement.
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Considering that Pod takes a good hour to get out of second gear, there’s a certain irony to the way that its opening credits flash across the screen at near subliminal speed. Clearly shackled by a low-budget, Pod, which is written and directed by Mickey Keating, is essentially a movie about three people arguing loudly, with an occasional pause for discordant violins to build to a crescendo in a futile bid to convince its audience that it really is the horror film it claims to be.
It begins with Ed (Dean Cates) who, with his dress sense and side-parting, looks like a refugee from the 1970s, paying a visit on his little sister, Lyla (Lauren Ashley Carter), a spiky waif who sleeps in red sheets and likes a generous dose of whiskey in her morning coffee. She looks like the kind of ballsy girl with a middle-finger attitude that you’d want by your side if you stumbled across something nasty in the basement, but, in truth, she turns out to be nothing but a scream machine once things finally start happening. Anyway, Ed’s worried about their brother, Martin (Brian Morvant), a psychologically unstable war veteran who has left a disturbing message on his phone which suggests he is in the midst of another breakdown, so the reason for the visit is to persuade little sis to accompany him to the remote lakeside cabin in which Martin lives.
One can’t help thinking they’d be better off asking the local services to pay their brother a visit – after all, when did anything good happen at a remote lakeside cabin? Everyone knows they’re a magnet for psycho killers and violent hillbilly rednecks. But clearly Ed and Lyla haven’t seen too many movies, because they duly drive to the cabin to find their brother in a highly agitated state. Part of that agitation is due to the fact that he expressly warned Ed to stay away from the cabin – which, when you think about it, is like telling someone not to think of an elephant – but his state of mind is mainly down to the fact that he thinks he has what he describes as a pod locked in the cabin’s basement.
At this point you might as well switch channels and watch an old episode of The Twilight Zone, the TV series which Keating cites as a major influence, because you really won’t miss anything of real importance for the next half-hour or so. Ed and Martin’s protracted argument drags on forever, while Lyla tests our patience even further by screeching from the sidelines. Presumably, Keating is trying to build some suspense prior to the big reveal, but the fact that we already saw Martin being stalked by some invisible creature that had just shredded his dog in the film’s opening scene effectively defuses any tension regarding whether he is dangerously delusional or whether there’s any truth to his claims.
To be fair, Pod picks up considerably once someone finally ventures into the basement, but that doesn’t happen until the final reel, by which time most viewers will have lost all interest. The briefly glimpsed alien looks reasonably believable, and there’s a welcome cameo from genre staple Larry Fessenden (You’re Next, We Are Still Here) in the final reel, but all that is meagre reward for sitting through an hour of excruciating dullness.
(Reviewed 2nd September 2016)