GOODBYE HONEY *** USA 2020 Dir: Max Strand. 95 mins
Do remember how some films start off slowly and then gradually make a descent into madness, this films begins with a tense opening and then takes you on an even more tense descent from there on, dragging you down into a lorry based pit of despair, if you will…
Opening in a basement, a long ‘tracking shot’ follows a clearly distraught Allison (Peyton Michelle Edwards) as she tries to escape her whitewashed underground prison, her plight is never to be really related to again in the film, bizarrely.
The film then cuts completely from Allison’s plight and focuses on Dawn Miller (Pamela Jayne Morgan) a female lorry driver who parks up that evening in a truck stop, in the middle of nowhere on what turns out to be a misty night. Just as she’s settling down to sleep, a young woman – Phoebe Beenum (Juliette Alice Gobin) – comes to her cab, waking her up and asking for help. She wants to go to the police as someone is stalking her – she’s apparently been held captive in a bare room, alone for 4 months.
Dawn reluctantly agrees to take her to a police station in the next town, but she can’t find the keys to her vehicle and what follows is the two of them hiding in the enclosed cargo space of her 18 wheeler, their nerves getting worse as the atmosphere grows increasingly tense. Phoebe accidentally then stabs herself in her stomach with a large pin, just as two guys climb into the truck.
Dawn chases them out with her baseball bat and then she spends time arguing with them – Tyler (Jake Laurence) and Zach (Rafe Soule) – to use their mobile phone, as they gradually torment her more and more, eventually leaving, her going back inside the cargo space.
Phoebe then agrees to tell Dawn what happened to get her in this situation and she tells a story of how she and her friend Allison were held captive by her friends mother Mrs. Rodick (Stacey Van Gorder) and father Cass Rodick (Paul C. Kelly) after an ‘accident’ took place, ending up in a ‘Josef Fritzl’ kind of situation.
A twist which involves Dawn’s truck, escalates the situation from bad to extremely worse, until it all builds up to an anxiety laden crescendo of doom and gloom.
The film has elements of torture movies like ‘The Last House on the Left’ and ‘Straw Dogs’ where the innocent people are tormented by a vile third party, but in this case two groups.
The soundtrack by the band Infinity Shred (from New York) is in a similar style to the Goblin soundtracks of the ’70s, featured in the Dario Argento movies, ‘keyboard based Prog’ with a small dash of EDM for good measure. It also has some elements of the classic keyboard based themes of Tangerine Dream, who might also have been an influence.
Written and directed by Max Strand – who previously worked as a production assistant on TV shows and various films, including ‘Limitless’ and ‘Paranoia’ – shows a great introduction to his abilities with this, his first feature length film and truly shows a raw talent, with hopefully even greater things to come.
Review by Ian Carroll