Streaming Releases: The Pining (2019) - Reviewed

Tom Sizemore is one of those actors who have made a career out of playing tough guys. He's played cops, gangsters, soldiers, thieves, cowboys, etc. The Pining just might be the first film where he's played a priest. Honestly, I could be totally wrong, but I think it's a solid assumption. It's clear that he plays a priest because he dressed like a priest on the poster and he's clutching a giant cross in his hand like one of the priests in The Exorcist. It would appear from the poster that Tom Sizemore is the lead in The Pining, but that is in fact, a lie. He's without question, the most famous actor in this film, but he doesn't have more than maybe 10 minutes of screen time. If you had to ask me who the lead was, I'm actually not sure if I could tell you. That's just the beginning. I don't think the film itself knows anything about what's actually happening.

The basic plot of The Pining appears to revolve around a series of mysterious deaths where the victims are all linked by a group therapy session they all attended, led of course, by Tom Sizemore, who plays Father William. The fact that there is a religious aspect to the film also means that there is a supernatural angle as well. All of the victims die off in spooky, supernatural ways. One appears to involve a zombie. Another one appears to involve a vampire, I think. Some of the other ones, I'm still not quite sure. It looked to me like one of the victims wasn't even at the therapy session, she just happens to be a sort of love interest for someone who was. I use the phrase 'appears to be' a lot because the incredibly dim cinematography made it rather difficult to tell at times.

Is this a reality show? No. Awwww too bad. 

Every element of The Pining has the traits of a low-budget horror film: terrible visual effects, mind-bending story logic, amateur acting, and painfully fake dialogue. The one thing it lacks that you tend to find in low-budget horror is any sense of heart. These sorts of films tend to make up for their technical and artistic faults with a sense of fun, and a great big heart; and The Pining unfortunately, doesn't contain any of this. In fact, the only thing The Pining has going for it is the fact that Tom Sizemore is a part of the cast, and it didn't even make proper use of that.

I'm honestly at a loss for words while trying to find a reason for The Pining to exist. I sincerely hope that the cast and crew had fun making it, and I really hope that they learned some things about filmmaking so they can apply it to whatever they end up making next, because otherwise I can't help but think that this was all for nothing. The only good thing I can say about The Pining is that it's only about 70 minutes long, so at least I got it over with it quickly.

-Derek Miranda