16th Jun2015

‘Crossland’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Joanna Bool, Sherine Chalhie, Lucy French, Daniel Garcia, Harvey Smith | Written and Directed by Mumtaz Yildirimlar

‘Terror knows no boundaries.’

crossland-1

A young jogger named Jason is out doing what he loves, running cross- country. Unknown to him, he trespasses into private land and is soon lured into a false-sense of security. What seemed like a routine run in the countryside, turns into a heart-pounding nightmare. Fear will run its course. Will Jason ever escape to tell the story?

A wise man once said “Never hate a film. Instead, use a film’s faults to learn something”. Now admittedly he was typing in all caps at the time, so I’m not sure if he was imparting wisdom or just a spambot who had finally managed to string a sentence together. But it stuck with me. Which is useful, because Crossland has so many problems, I feel like I’ve earned part of a degree just by watching it.

Its cinematography being so poor from the start was a warning of what to expect. Not that it’s usually a deal breaker for me but in the version I bought online, any poorly lit dark area [considering the majority of the film takes place in the woods, this was a lot] kept coming out in smudgy pixels, so I wonder what type of camera the film was shot on.

It’s not just the cinematography though – our protagonist Jason is so firmly in the realm of characters I loathe, (and I don’t think we are meant to) that I almost rooted for the villains to kill him quicker, just to get the film over with. For make no mistake, from being the instigator of the events in the first place, to leaving someone else to die every time bad things happened, he was thoroughly unlikable.

Not that the villains, who take this film into the ‘crazy locals’ area of horror, are much better. Be it their stilted speech, their ‘accents’ or their 5 minute incoherent rants about trespassers (what a lovely scene that was to view!) the actors playing them go up to the line of being over the top enough to be enjoyable, but not over, to when it would have been actually amusing.

I did laugh a bit at how over prepared they were for every eventuality, (they put a bomb in their own car just in case someone tries to use it to escape!) but as for the people themselves, there was nothing as horror villains to really sink my teeth into. By the end of the film, I wasn’t sure if I was meant to side with anyone, or just loath them all. There are certainly small efforts to try and make you empathise with every character, but their faults overpower this, and combined with a lack of follow through meant it was all muddled.

Overall Crossland feels like a student film stretched out with lots of running around to – just about – a feature length film. The writer and director clearly wanted to go down the route of treating everything as serious, when even just a slight bit of overacting or self awareness would have saved the film. Embracing the concept as being as silly as it is would have probably worked better. At least then, it wouldn’t have been such a trek.

You can buy Crossland directly from MY Production. The film is also available on iTunes and other VOD outlets.


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