Goth chick wannabe Tandra’s friends all kill themselves after visiting a wooded area called Brimstone so she heads there herself to get some answers. Will she be able to solve the mystery behind the death of her friends and live to tell about it or is she destined to follow in their footsteps and take her own life as well?
80 minutes can seem like an awful long time depending on what you’re doing. For instance, it can seem like a lifetime if you are having extensive dental work done, stuck in a boring lecture at school, on a long car ride with someone you don’t really know who doesn’t like to talk, or watching a boring movie that seems to go on and on. Unfortunately that last example was the case for me when it came to Brimstone. Even though it is relatively short it seemed much, much longer to me and I was very eager for it to be over. I hate to say that a movie just isn’t very good (especially when it is a low budget horror film like this one) but I just can’t help it this time around.
As I have said time and time again I applaud anyone who has the cojones to go out there and make their own movie with limited resources as it can be an extremely difficult and frustrating experience (I’ve tried it on numerous occasions and almost lost what little sanity I had in the process for a number of reasons). I proudly support these people and think that it is admirable that they have the drive and desire to get off the couch and pursue their passion. With that being said, I also think that these filmmakers should put their hearts and souls into these films, which is something that seems to be lacking in the case of Brimstone in my honest opinion.
It seems like it was hastily thrown together without anyone involved really giving a damn about the final product. I’ll admit the premise is promising but the writing leaves a lot to be desired (the biggest majority of the dialogue is weak and forced and to give you an idea of what I’m talking about there is actually a line where one of the characters asks someone if she is a loner because she is all alone) and the acting is even worse. I wasn’t expecting this film to be flawless, but after seeing some of writer/director Michael Wade Johnson’s other (and much better) I was expecting a little more.
I also thought that the camerawork was pretty bad too. Most of the shots are shaky as hell and there are some scenes where the camera doesn’t even seem to be pointed at anything in particular (like someone delivering his or her lines). In addition we are subjected to scenes that go on for way too long that are pretty much pointless to begin with (such as the numerous party scenes and the very lame half ass orgy bit that couldn’t be any less sexy if it tried to be). I don’t know about the rest of you but when I watch a horror film I actually want to see people get killed, not scene after scene of poser Goths sitting around talking, drinking, and making out.
Did I mention that there are a ton of scenes that show Tandra walking around aimlessly while music plays over the shots? Well, there are, and if these types of scenes are your thing you will be in Heaven. Brimstone could have been a twenty or thirty minute short film but for some reason the people behind it decided to add these scenes (and there are a lot of them) to pad it out to a full-length movie. They don’t have any dialogue, are too long, don’t do anything to help push the story along, and get old after the first time we are subjected to one of them.
On the plus side Misty Simmons-Poteet does a pretty decent job and in reality carries the movie the entire time. Though there are certain points where she looks bored and seems to want to be somewhere else completely overall she does a good job bringing her character of Tandra to life. She does a much better job than any of her co-stars (who really phone in their performances) and I see her moving on to bigger and better things in the future if she decides to continue acting.
I really didn’t care for Brimstone. It has more weaknesses than strengths and just isn’t very good in general. On the flip side I know that this was one of Johnson’s earlier efforts and some of his most recent stuff is better, so I would suggest you take a pass on this one and check out some of his other works. This movie isn’t unwatchable and is better than some other films that I’ve seen in the past, but at the same time I don’t have any desire to ever watch it again.