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The Taking of Deborah Logan – 7

Director – Adam Robitel

Cast – Jill Larson, Anne Ramsay, Michelle Ang, Ryan Cutrona Anne Bedian, Brett Gentile, Jeremy DeCarlos, Tonya Bludsworth, Julianna Taylor

Release Year – 2014

Reviewed by John of the Dead

I first saw the initial trailer for this film on Facebook and was immediately hooked on seeing this. What left me hooked was the film’s unique premise involvong something I had not seen in the genre, or even the demonsub-genre, before – alzheimers / dementia. 2001 Maniacs actor Adam Robitel directs this effort, his first feature horror film, and alongside a co-written screenplay donning a few good jolts his execution makes this a worthy experience.

As part of her Ph.D program, Mia takes on the opportunity to film a senior woman’s battle with Alzheimer’s. When the woman begins to undergo strange and unexplainable symptoms her family begins to suspect that her problems are of a supernatural, not biological, origin.

The story begins with an intro from Mia where she declares her intent for this project. They quickly arrive at Deborah’s home and are welcomed by her daughter Sarah, who is only doing this because Mia is paying for this opportunity and Deborah’s medical bills have left the family strapped for cash. Deborah is a nice lady at first, although she is not very receptive to being filmed constantly in the “privacy” of her own home. Soon enough, the crew witnesses one of Deborah’s violent outbursts and gets a full-frontal view of the chaos Sarah must deal with on a daily basis. The spooks begin early, with a creepy scene appearing at the 16-minute mark and several more at the 22, 24, and 27 minute marks. This makes for one hell of a first act and a smart move by the writers to suck you in early. The second act shows us more of the medical aspect of Deborah’s condition, with doctors stumped over what is causing the terrible infections and rashes covering her body. Sure enough, the scares don’t stop, and we get the first truly solid scene 32 minutes into the film. I was quite impressed with the writing here, as this is a scare that you know is coming, yet the add-ons to the spook make it one that was more effective than it should have been. As the story builds Deborah’s outbursts continue, and revelations about her past arise. The horror then grows as locations move from the home to the hospital, and then another location where you will witness one of the creepiest scenes of 2014.

I enjoyed the horror seen here and that is about all the film has to offer. The characters involved serve as platforms for Deborah and contribute little to the film on their own. Is this a bad thing? Not really, because I did not notice it very much until after the film. I will say that this would have been a more fulfilling effort had there been characters I actually gave a damn about, but with the most important element, the horror, intact I won’t balk at this too much.

Robitel’s direction is great for a first-timer and is directly responsible for my enjoyment of the film. With not much more to offer than the horror itself he excelled in making this a creepier experience than expected. The atmosphere and sets used are fantastic, employing a home full of dark corners and shadows that would leave me in constant fear if I were to be looking for a missing Deborah in the middle of the night. Actress Jill Larson was an excellent choice as Deborah, giving a haunting performance even during scenes where she had no words, just a deathly stare. To my surprise Robitel relied on practical effects for the horror, including a certain snake-esque scare scene that literally left me in awe. On top of this his execution of the horror was fantastic. The scenes are drawn-out to force the viewer into a nervous state, and great POV cinematography leaves us face-to-face with the horror on many occasions.

Overall, The Taking of Deborah Logan is quite the achievement for first-timer Adam Robitel. He manages to deliver one of the better found-footage films of recent time, with an emphasis on good scares and solid atmosphere. The experience could have been better, as with every horror film out there, but if you are into the found-footage scene you should probably give this one a watch.

Rating: 7/10

…Additional Stills…

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