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First Look Review - STRANGLEHOLD

Peaceful aliens attempt to thwart plans to destroy our planet.


Review by Emily Craig (@emillycraig)

Directed by: Joshua Gollish

Starring: Kevin Makely, Luke Edwards, Carolyn Stotesbery




"I’m not going to try and sugarcoat it – the acting is atrocious, actually some of the worst I’ve seen. Stranglehold certainly isn’t going to gain any cult status."




Stranglehold is a Sci-Fi thriller from first time director and writer Joshua Gollish, who has previously mainly worked in camera and technical departments of films. The film is about a small group of aliens who are trying to “peacefully” stop a violent tribe of aliens with a leader named Ramos (presumably, it’s not completely clear) from destroying earth. These so called peaceful aliens had come to earth when their home (location unknown) became “overcrowded”, only to be put into hiding and sentenced to death by the violent aliens.
I’m not going to try and sugarcoat it – the acting is atrocious, actually some of the worst I’ve seen in a film that’s getting released. From the first scene to the last, the “actors” sound like they're reading from scripts with no emotion. There is no change of tone in what they’re saying and it sounds and looks ridiculous, I’ve seen better acting in Tommy Wiseau’s The Room (2003). Some are worse than others and Kevin Makely, who plays main protagonist Remi Martan isn’t awful, but he unquestionably isn’t going to win an Oscar either.
What’s even more frustrating is that the film is shot pretty well. In fact it's shot very well; the camera techniques and cleverly positioned lighting create a dark ambience. Director Joshua Gollish has worked as a digital imaging technician on the films Unbroken (2014) Prisoners (2013) and Skyfall (2012) which have all been nominated for an Academy Award in cinematography; so how he has gone from those to this monstrosity is beyond my knowledge.
As well as bad acting, the plot isn’t great either. I found myself struggling to pay attention to the dialogue as I found the whole thing so mundane and boring; any action scenes were again ruined by absurd performances. In one scene Remi is about to be shot by a member of the violent tribe who then tells Remi to run as he attempts and fails to shoot him; why didn’t he just shoot him there and then? It doesn’t make sense. Another notably laugh-out-loud scene is where Remi narrowly escapes hiding and steps into a hair salon to avoid getting seen. The camp barber calls Remi “honey” three times in about one minute and comes up with quite possibly the best line in the film – “I don’t want your money, honey”.
This film isn’t really worth watching at all; the camera techniques aren’t enough to keep you from boredom. It’s not even a case, like in The Room, where you can watch it to have a laugh. It’s just annoying and certainly isn’t going to gain any cult status.




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