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Removal – 5

Director – Nick Simon

Cast – Billy Burke, Mark Kelly, Oz Perkins, Emma Caulfield, Kelly Brook, Elliott Gould, Sharon Omi

Release Year – 2010

Reviewed by John of the Dead

Much like Occupant (which I just posted), Removal is a film that I really expected to like but was only left with disappointment.  Of course, I did not read on either film so I had no idea of their numerous negative reviews, but personally I find it more exciting going into a film without any prior knowledge of the piece.  Removal is gothic in nature and provides an overall storyline that I enjoyed, but that same story fell flat and held the experience back in the end.

After experiencing a traumatizing murder-suicide involving a personal friend, Cole is left suffering emotional repercussions that have cost him dearly.  He suffers hallucinations, his wife has left him, and his career has dwindled into a blue collar job as a lackey for a cleaning service company.  Cole’s despair brightens when he is offered $5,000 cash to clean the home of a wealthy gentleman overnight, however everything comes with a price and Cole finds himself enthralled in a “mess” he should never have been a part of.

I figured I’d enjoy this story due to the dynamic conflict it would provide regarding Cole, who obviously had a good life before the self-inflicted death of his friend, an event that lead to the loss of everything Cole loved about his life.  This conflict is greatened when he is provided with an opportunity to fix some of his financial woes and hopefully win his life back, but of course not everything is as easy or simple as it seems.  The film moves fairly slow and is quite uneventful after the initial suicide Cole experiences, however the introduction of the wealthy man, Henry Sharpe, made things more interested due to his demeaning nature and well-written dialogue that hinted at him killing his wife and using Cole to clean up the mess.  It is from then on out that we accompany Cole on the roller coaster ride in determining whether or not Henry did kill his wife and is using Cole as an accessory, or if this is simply another hallucinogenic side effect of the suicide that left Cole in a mentally unstable state.  Things boil down to the wire in regards to this dilemma, which I found fairly interesting when we find out what finally happened regarding Henry’s wife, but the ride to get there came with many bumps in the road.  There was the inclusion of another main character that threw me off a bit during the latter half of the film, and it was that writing idea that I felt kept the film back even though it should have progressed the experience if anything.

Director Nick Simon did a decent job with this piece, giving us good atmosphere and great set location when we get to Henry’s large and Italian-esque home.  There is a heavy sense of dread provided throughout this experience, and while I expected some good horror the horror never really surfaced, but I blame that more on writing than direction.  The scenes of horror that we do get are good, especially the final kill in the film, and it shows that despite this not being a good overall film that Nick Simon does have some directing talent in him.  The acting performances are good enough, with Oz Perkins stealing the show as the eccentric asshole Henry Sharpe, and it if were not for his performance I would have found this piece a lot more boring at possibly unwatchable.

Overall, Removal is a film that came with an interesting premise but suffered numerous story-related faults that held it back in the end.  The direction is fairly good, but it was far from enough to salvage this piece.

Rating: 5/10

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