DON'T BLINK (REVIEW)
Dir. Travis Oates
Reviewer. Martyn Wakefield
DON'T BLINK is not the movie adaptation of Doctor Who’s prestigious stoned angel foe but instead is the directorial feature debut of Travis Oates which sees a group of 10 friends and acquaintances arrive at a log cabin for the weekend.
Upon arrival they soon get weird vibes when they realise that the cabin is not only abandoned, but so is the local woodland, of any wild habitat at all. Suddenly, the band of friends start disappearing one by one - right in front of their very eyes. Without gas, rational and explanation tensions run high and loyalties falter as others abruptly, and inexplicably, cease to exist.
Technically, the film is a visual marvel, for a low budget independent film not only does it manage to make a simple camera trick seem believable but keeps you glued to the end. The editing between each disappearance gets better throughout and the bed sheet scene is mind blowing. The films greatest feature is also its biggest hold back. On one side you have the most original and gripping thriller in years, bringing a well seasoned cast and well written script. Surviving on it’s sole effort of pulling you into it’s world of madness without relying on stylish visuals or heavy gore.
Unfortunately it suffers hugely from it’s ambiguous pay off that leaves you scratching your head for more. DON'T BLINK needed a solid conclusion for all of it’s bamboozled disappearances however it never comes and while conclusions are left open to the viewer, it does feel like a great idea that wasn’t quite seen through to the end. The fear of the unknown and belief that life can be gone in the blink of a second is a terrifying thought but in the context of film would hugely benefit from some sort of rhyme or reason.
Despite sharing the lead role, Mena Suvari shares little screen time instead leaving the bulk of the action to co-stars Brian Austin Green, Joanne Kelly and Zack Ward. Wards transformation from comedian to sociopath is a great preview of things to come which would have benefited from a conclusion of what happened when he disappears.
All in all, DON'T BLINK is a refreshing take on a brainy thriller that is certainly worth a watch. While it may leave more questions than it answers, its star talent and fresh approach to the horror genre make this a worthwhile addition in a market flooded with remakes and reboots. A superb debut from Oates who has certainly put his mark on our radar.