13th Dec2021

‘Fisher’ VOD Review

by Phil Wheat

Stars: Lilly Leann Wright, Nasim, Jessie Bell, Mia Naipaul, Zachary Rodriguez-Gardner, Alexander Chastain | Written by Directed by Cassandra Bryson

In the small town of Eden, Tennessee, a neglected and naive teenage girl named Clara Banks has made a habit of “catfishing,” or deceiving people, online for gift cards. She thinks it’s all fun and games until she garners the attention of the wrong person. A short time later, events set into motion spiral out of control as someone begins stalking Clara and her friends. As the consequences of her actions return to haunt her, twisted messages start showing up at Clara’s home, causing her to fear for her life…

Opening with a dramatic murder the, you would think, opens Fisher up how it means to go on. But that’s not the case. What follows the dark and disturbing prologue is a meandering tale of teenage life – complete with ridiculous montages of them, going about mundane tasks. Montages may I add which help push the running time of Fisher to a whopping 2+ hours! Yes, over two hours of first0-time, over-indulgent filmmaking.

That’s not to say there’s not something good at the core of writer/director Cassandra Bryson’s film, because there is. It’s just that as a first-time filmmaker no one has seemingly reigned in some of her choices. It really feels as if there was no producer, no editor, etc., around to give Bryson feedback. It also looks, from the film choice of bible verse, that there was no spell-checker involved in the film either! I jest, but taking some care to whittle down the script, to focus the film more on the key points of the story rather than on Clara’s everyday life would have done wonders for Fisher.

What does work in Fisher is the music. Composer Kevin Czaja gives the film a real sinister vibe thanks to his musical cues; vibes that perfectly match the Halloween-set tale. Not that it really matter that the film is set at Halloween, it only allows Bryson to throw in some scary imagery and throw red herrings the audiences way thanks to characters in having people wander about in costume.

In the end though Fisher falls down because the lead character is so unlikeable. The audience is supposed to feel sorry for her when she becomes the object of a stalkers attention. However the way Clara is written and performed it really feels like she deserves everything she gets – which is 100% NOT the way this film should have gone. We should feel sympathy, empathy, ANYTHING! But ultimately the audience will end up siding with the films antagonist, who’s actions are completely driven by her reaction to Clara’s behaviour!

As I said previously, there’s a good film inside Fisher, a film desperately trying to break out of its current state. Perhaps Cassandra Bryson can hand the film over to a new editor and cut some of the more extraneous footage from the movie? We don’t need to see every minute detail of Clara’s life – I get that it provides motivation for her and shows a different side to her personality (and wastes far too much time on side characters in a vain attempt at creating suspects and red herrings) but given that all of that doesn’t stop Clara from being thoroughly unlikeable, maybe its time that hit the cutting room floor?

*½  1.5/5

Fisher is available to watch now on Amazon Prime.

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