Cinematic Releases: Something (2018) - Reviewed

Written and directed by Stephen Portland, Something seems to present a good enough synopsis to make for quite an exciting view. Although the plot is not an original or unfamiliar one, it normally allows for a writer or director to offer a myriad of possibilities. Such a storyline normally offers actors a very good Petrie dish for character exploration and riveting potential to lead the viewer into all kinds of prospects. Normally.

Something is cleverly titled, as it leaves you wishing for just that. Something. Anything. We are introduced to a couple who are experiencing all the ups and downs of new parenthood, and the film has a slow start to ease us into the dread of their existence as uncertain and sleep-deprived parents. Soon, they experience some confusion that almost pushes them to argue, but it is just another missed opportunity by Portland to excite the audience. At first, actors Jane Rowan and Michael Gazin deliver the implied banality very well, but then you discover that this is just their acting style – bland. 

Lacking proper score to liven up the tedious drag of scenes, Something's pallid and unforgiving dullness is so prevalent that one begins to think that it has to be some deliberate trick of the director. However, as with the acting, you soon realize that the desperately boring set design has nothing to do with instilling melancholy or dread in the viewer. It simply fails at giving us something to set the tone of the film.

The lighting and camera work is up to par, which is possibly the only positive thing about this entire film. The supporting cast – and that includes a brief and bad appearance from B-movie icon Eric Roberts – is as unconvincing and painful to watch as the empty walls of the insipid house the film is set in. An intruder upheaves their already shaky interactions as the characters try to interpret the all but three occasions on which the stranger is seen. Even the villain is unconvincing and does not even evoke the slightest bead of discomfort in the audience, let alone apprehension.

As a drama for people who hate any emotional stimulation, this film excels. It is as far from a horror as a field of daisies. The only horror Something can claim, is the sensory deprivation it offers audiences. It will leave you gasping for a breath of sarin just to make you feel – something.

--Tasha Danzig