13th Oct2014

‘Dementamania’ Review

by Nicky Johnson

Stars: Kal Penn, Vincent Regan, Geoff Bell, John Thomson, Sam Robertson, Holly Weston, Richard Ashton, Rebecca Reaney, Matt Healy, James Oliver Wheatley, Richard Crehan, Anthony Cozens, Melissa Wells, Marc Parry, Rachel Rae | Written by Anis Shlewet | Directed by Kit Ryan

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Dementamania follows a well groomed and obsessive senior software analyst Edward Arkham (Sam Robertson) who’s constantly caught between reality and his imagination, where he takes out all the anger and frustration on people like his backstabbing manager or his annoying co-workers. One morning, he meets Nicholas Lemarchand (Vincent Regan), who tells Edward that he’s a mediator, but as the hallucinations get worse for him through the day, Edward starts seeing him Nicholas more and more in unexpected places, and when security footage suggests the mediator doesn’t even exist, Edward starts to get more and more suspicious of the strange man whilst falling further and further into his twisted imagination.

I’ll be honest-I picked this film because when I was sent the link, it was late and I misread the description online. I started watching it thinking it was going to be a comedy because Kal Penn is in it. Instead I got a horror and about 5 minutes of Kal Penn. Fortunately, this disappointment was offset by the fact that Sam Robertson was absolutely perfect for this role and was brilliant as the troubled and trodden on Edward. Considering he’s probably best known for playing Adam Barlow in Coronation Street, this is a huge departure but a fantastic effort, really making himself believable.

The story is cliché but comes off brilliantly. Vincent Regan played a great mysterious figure, and his interactions and dialogue with Robertson were on point, Lemarchand’s own brand of subtle darkness drawing out the panicked psychosis of Arkham. The co-workers were brilliant comic relief, with Anthony Cozens playing the rather plain and oblivious Stephen, and Robert van Twillert playing the dirty party animal Pablo. In particular, the scene where Pablo and Edward are getting drunk together is was great fun to watch.

As ever, this film isn’t without its failings. The relatively low budget meant that some of the effects were dire, like the awfully rubber/plastic looking intestines hanging out of an office worker. Some of the cringing away from the screen came from not the visuals, but the harsh grinding soundtrack. Perhaps worst of all, the writers decided it would be a good idea to have the Edward’s psychiatrist cone in towards the end and do a Miss Marple, explaining everything that’s wrong with Edward and what’s been happening with him over the course of the whole movie. I would’ve preferred Nicholas to explain it all, a bit like Fight Club where [SPOILER ALERT] Edward Norton figures out Tyler Durden is inside his head.[END SPOILERS]

Failings aside though, Dementamania is a pretty solid film. Very impressed with Robertson, who I hope to see more of, and overall it’s definitely worth a watch.

**** 4/5

Check out our exclusive clip from the film here. The film is on limited release across the UK from October 17th.

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