Stars: Catherine Annette, Nick Principe, Nikki Bohm, David Atlas | Written and Directed by Dpyx
Nobody Can Cool takes a simple concept and uses it to great effect. An independent film in every sense, it is evidence that you do not need big budget dollars to create unnerving tension and edge of your seat excitement. For those looking for an effective modern twist on old school noir you will find it with Nobody Can Cool.
The story follows Susan (Catherine Annette) and David (David Atlas) a young couple who are looking to have a weekend getaway out in the country. They soon find their friend’s home they thought would be vacated is currently being used by some suspicious characters. The question becomes are these strange occupiers just the product or a miscommunication or are their plans far more sinister.
David and Susan come across as the couple you never want to hang out with. Constantly bickering they remind you of those couples that make you wonder why they are ever together. Catherine Annette’s and David Atlas’s banter feels uncomfortably real. We first meet them shortly after a family wedding that provided nothing but things to argue about. As we travel traverse the country roads it becomes very apparent what type of people we are working with.
When they surpassingly walk in on Len (Nick Principe) and Gigi (Nikki Bohm) during a rather intimate moment the mood of the film quickly changes. Thankfully it does not take long to learn we are in a dire situation. Len and Gigi have plenty to hide and will do whatever they need to in order to protect their secrets.
Often with a story of this nature the mystery can be prolonged. Trying to play with your preconceived notions just to get to the outcome you expected from the get go. Here it becomes apparent quickly that Len and Gigi are not to be trusted, and it is with that knowledge director Dpyx finds clever ways to build true suspense.
With a limited budget Dpyx (the name given to the writing, producing, and directing team of Marcy Boyle and Rachel Holzman) had to use some good old fashion camera techniques to keep you on edge seat feeling. Specifically one moment that stands out occurs after Susan realizes they have been locked in their own bedroom. Determined she climbs out the window to the nearby ground looking for the suspicious strangers she just met. Subtly Len and Gigi walk casually into frame as if they are just on a normal evening stroll or maybe they are lurking on unexpected pray. It was like the opposite of a overused jump scare. Instead of your quick burst of adrenalin it was a extended sequence of anticipation.
Besides Dpyx, Nick Principe and Catherine Annette are also two standouts. Principe has the unique ability to both a humorous attitude and ominous personality. You are afraid of what he is capable of, yet he still remains strangely appealing. When he is on-screen the movie is at its best. Annette morphs from a nagging girlfriend to a strong-willed force that is capable of doing what is necessary to survive. The rest of the cast does the job, but they are not nearly as notable. Nikki Bohm comes off as the weakest link as her menace has no bite.
At times the banter between David and Susan is forced into situations when it does not belong. Once you enter into a life and death situation siting in a car and arguing about what key you got does not seem like a way people would act. It was the one big horror or thriller cliché they were guiltily of perpetrating, otherwise they did a superb job of staying away from them.
One of the biggest compliments I can give Nobody Can Cool is that it has me excited for what the duo of Dpyx will do next. It’s like watching a five-star recruit’s first at bat in a minor league game. The talent and technique are clearly there. With a little more practice greatness is surely to follow. Nobody Can Cool may not be a complete homerun – but it is not far off.
Nobody Can Cool is released on DVD on February 22nd, courtesy of Left Films.