Before the Fire (aka The Great Silence)
IMDb: As a global pandemic engulfs Los Angeles, rising TV star Ava Boone is forced to flee the mounting chaos and return to her rural hometown. As she struggles to acclimate to a way of life she left behind long ago, her homecoming attracts a dangerous figure from her past- threatening both her and the family that serves as her only sanctuary.
This was an interesting little film written by and starring Jenna Lyng Adams which takes such a long time to get going. Counting away the first 53 minutes setting the scene and painting the background to the events of the last third in this 90 minute picture was a slow job. And then, suddenly, it comes to life and we're delivered up a feast of thrills, violence and survival behaviour from those involved which is indeed thrilling and chilling.
The lead is very watchable and those around her keep up, each displaying their eventual brand of nastiness. It does indeed turn into a survival tale and the audience ends up rooting for our likeable heroine. The inexperienced Charlie Buhler directs and does so with some interest, though she could have made more of those first 53 minutes! Worth a watch if you get the chance.
Hour of Lead (aka The Vanished)
There's been 1,001 of these films and TV shows made centred around a couple who have their child vanish, so any that come along now have to stand out from the crowd. And this one does.
Husband and wife, 10 year old daughter and family dog like camping. This time, the lakes somewhere in America is the venue in their gigantic Motorhome/RV, to enjoy the fishing and freedom. Pretty much as soon as they arrive there, the couple turn round and the daughter is no longer with them. What has happened to her?
The police roll up and as the couple get more anxious about the situation, they start to behave irrationally and one event leads to another as things get dark and thrilling. I'll say no more as it would spoil things for you. The film is a cut above though and there are interesting turns and surprises along the way.
Peter Facinelli of Twilight fame wrote and directed admirably. Some of the visuals of the lakes and surrounding area have been shot with some artistic leaning. Anne Heche (who I remember showed up everyone around her years ago in Ally McBeal playing a woman with Tourette's syndrome brilliantly) is the woman, and Thomas Jane the man. They both do very well and are convincing, though if you watch closely, their behaviour and mannerisms do paint the picture that all is maybe not quite what it seems. I really enjoyed it. If you can grab it, it's worth a watch.