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DVD Review: Red Mist

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Very seldom does a direct-to-DVD horror film make an impression and unfortunately Red Mist is no different. Internationally titled Freakdog, there's little that separates Red Mist from the usual garbage shown late night on the Sci-Fi Channel. Aside from a decent budget and some standard performances, it's uninteresting, unoriginal, and uneventful.

After a cruel prank on a medical facility janitor named Kenneth goes haywire and puts him in a deep coma, the medical students responsible for the act drop him off outside of the hospital. One student (Arielle Kebbel), feeling deep guilt about the incident, injects the janitor with a wonder drug in hopes of keeping him alive that inadvertently peaks his brainwaves, allowing him to take control of others while in the coma. Now Kenneth is getting his revenge on his abusers, one by one.

With some familiar faces with some acting chops aboard, Red Mist is just a notch above the director Paddy Breathnach's previous film, Shrooms. Unfortunately that's not saying much. The cast of familiar faces include Arielle Kebbel (The Uninvited), Sarah Carter (Skinwalkers), Martin Compston (Doomsday), and MyAnna Buring (The Decent).

This psychological thriller does little to distinguish itself from any other films of its low-caliber ilk. Perhaps with less dialog, more blood to justify the film's title, and more innovation, something could have been made out of this feature that unfortunately flatlines too early. It's an overwrought film lacking in poetic deaths and professionalism behind the camera, leaving the viewers with practically nothing noteworthy. And it's just not scary.

The bleak viewpoint of director Paddy Breathnach lacks visionary accomplishment. It is becoming discernible that Breathnach is a director with a cut-rate sense of style. Red Mist is not a complete waste though, thanks to a dramatic performance by Arielle Kebbel, a creepy cameo appearance from MyAnna Buring, and a single worthy death scene. But ultimately Red Mist is an uninteresting, dialog-ridden affair about as imaginative as an Ivy League haircut.

Screenwriter Spence Wright lacks ingenuity in his first screenplay and suffers from a hefty amount of hot air. But this isn't the only thing keeping Red Mist from finding fair grounds. Nothing particularly memorable occurs and maintains a sluggish pace. It becomes a long 85 minute countdown to the final frame, which is profoundly uninspired and arbitrarily composed.

Included in the film's special features is "The Making of Red Mist," an "Extended Interview with Arielle Kebbel," and "The Red Mist Cast in Northern Ireland." Although these special features aren't anything extensively informative, it's interesting to hear the casts' reasons for taking the parts and thoughts toward the director and writer.

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