-Written by Robert O’ Doherty
Among Friends was another film that played during the horroton at the IFI (Irish Film Institute). To be honest, at first I didn’t care for watching this film. After just viewing four movies in a row, with two more to follow, with six movies previously watched the day before with less than 5 hours of sleep in between, I was ready to roll over and die. But what got me amped for this screening (besides a diet of caffeine and sugar) was the introduction from director, Danielle Harris of Halloween fame. The introduction was brief, but the optimism and the fuck-yeah attitude from Harris was the perfect replacement for caffeine and sugar. The showing would follow-up with a Q & A, including a meet and greet.
The flick opens with a wild bunch of friends who appear in 80’s prom garb hopping into a white luxurious limo to attend a house party. A famous horror icon plays the limo driver, and when he/she appeared, the crowd went bananas. Once everyone’s inside the house, they’re introduced to a murder mystery game. Unfortunately for this bunch, the game leads them down a dark path where friendships will be tested as nasty secrets are slowly revealed.
The film mostly takes place in a dinning room, which means this is a character driven script that must deliver dialog that’s attention-grabbing. Writer Alyssa Lobit knocks this one out of the park. First she writes to make you laugh, then flips a switch that pushes the film into sinister territory. I have to tip my invisible hat off to actress Jennifer Blanc, whose performance was so convincing and real, it made that transition natural. While Among Friends still holds onto the comedic moments during some scenes, it’s still a thought-provoking film. Who are your friends behind closed doors? And can you really trust them? Is friendship a farce at the end of the day? Seeing characters turn on each other was unsettling. Would my friends turn on me in similar circumstances? While these questions present an uneasy notion, it was a blast seeing these supposed friends turning on each other. The flick could have done with one or two characters being fleshed out a bit more. The punishment these trapped friends suffered, could have been pumped up a bit because the gore gags that were used, were pulled off very nicely. I guess I just wanted more, and maybe that’s not an entirely a bad thing.
During the Q & A, we were told that that Among Friends took 10 days to film…10 fucking days! Harris must have Italian genes in her because that’s a daunting achievement for a directors debut. The flick was also shot in chronological order – what a rarity! If you’re an inspiring film-maker like myself, then this is a movie you must watch.
Among Friends didn’t set out to win prestigious awards for it’s cinematography, score, acting etc. It set out to be a thrill ride in my eyes. It’s funny, but looming with a nice pace to it that will keep you engrossed with characters who bounce off each other with a swiftness. Don’t let the low budget put you off, just sit back, relax and enjoy this gem of a flick.