17th Nov2020

‘Immortal’ Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Tony Todd, Dylan Baker, Samm Levine, Robin Bartlett, Agnes Bruckner, Lindsay Mushett, Jason Stuart, Brett Edwards, Mario Van Peebles, C.J. Vana, Sade Grandberry, Vanessa Lengies, Michael Shenefelt | Written by Jon Dabach | Directed by Tom Colley, Jon Dabach, Danny Isaacs, Rob Margolies

Immortality, the idea that man can live forever, has often bee touched upon by cinema – oftentimes the consequences of which never turn out the way people want. Oftentimes the exact opposite; a bright future without fear of death changing personalities, changing perspectives on the human condition. But their are always consequences. More bad than good… Anthology film Immortal explores the consequences of immortality, be it known or unknown, and how it effects it’s characters humanity.

Immortal opens with “Chelsea”, the story of a high school athlete who is being abused by her sports coach. Seemingly finding a shoulder to cry on, a safe person to confess to, Chelsea opens up to the warm, friendly teacher Mr. Shagis (Dylan Baker). Only, as is often the case, people are not who they appear to be on the surface… Even morsels when you know you can live forever. Who cares about consequences when you can never die? Mr. Shagis doesn’t care… And the sports coach is not the one Chelsea should be afraid, of. Though it turns out Mr. Shagis should be afraid of Chelsea.

Yes, we’re in twisted tales territory with Immortal. The kind of “sting in the tale” filmmaking that Amicus and Hammer were synonymous with back in the 70s. The kind of storytelling that is, at times, horrific, and at others melodramatic and occasionally with Immortal – dare I say it – heart-warming.

Of all Immortal‘s stories, the second segment – “Gary & Vanessa” – is the most horrific (and gory). A classic “bad guy gets their comeuppance” story, this one sees a woman convince her husband to throw himself off the roof of their home to claim the insurance so she can live comfortably after the birth of their baby. Only its all a ploy to get her husband out of the way so she can get the insurance money AND start a new life with her lover. And we all know what happens to black widow types in these kinds of movies. Here in particular comeuppance seems too mild for what happens to our scheming housewife… Out of all the segments here, this very, very, much in the Amicus vein!

I always enjoy seeing Tony Todd in genre films. Always. Here however Tony Todd plays a somewhat different role to his usual – Ted, the husband of the dying Mary in Immortal‘s third segment, “Ted & Mary”. Todd always delivers a masterful performance but here, in a more subdued, subtle role he’s stunning to watch. A story of assisted suicide this story sees an elderly couple telling their story to a group of filmmakers who want to capture the relationship and the life story of the two before Ted helps his wife move to the other side. We’re only with Todd and his co-star in this story Robin Bartlett for a short while but between the script and the powerful performances from both actors, you really feel a connection to both people. Which gives this segment’s stinger even more of a poignant, upsetting, end.

The final piece of this puzzle is “Warren”. Played by Samm Levine (Freaks & Geeks, Undeclared) the titular Warren is somewhat of a loner. A loner who, whilst out walking one day, gets hit by a car and dies. Only he doesn’t. He wakes up in the road after his “killer” drives off… What’s a guy to do when he realises he’s immortal but has no-one to tall about it? Well here Warren goes about testing his immortality by cutting himself, trying to drown himself… Then he remembers he was run down and killed AND has the license plate of the car that did it!

Four stunning stories, both in terms of story and visuals (this film really looks fantastic!), and all very much on-point when it comes to immortality and the consequences therein, Immortal is available on VOD now from Wild Eye Releasing.

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