The Movie Waffler New Release Review [VOD] - NIX | The Movie Waffler

New Release Review [VOD] - NIX

nix review
A mysterious entity threatens a troubled family.

Review by Sue Finn

Directed by: Anthony C Ferrante

Starring: Dee Wallace, Michael Pare, James Zimbardi, Skyler Caleb

nix poster

In ‘the past’ - Lucas, Tessa and Jack are three prepubescent siblings on a camping trip with their parents. A mysterious stranger interrupts their lunchtime, and young Tessa wonders off to the lake inexplicably to retrieve a ball they’d lost earlier. While Tessa is wading through the lake an old lady shows up to recite some sort of spell, and a creature from the lake emerges to kill her. The rest of the family arrive in time to see the aftermath. Dad leaps into the water to save her but to no avail. Tessa is lost.

The screen goes black and now we are in ‘the present’, where the two remaining boys are adults and mom (now played by Dee Wallace) is a disturbed and tormented elderly woman who still believes her missing daughter is “still out there”. Lucas (Skylar Caleb) still lives with his mom, haunted by the voices of his younger siblings and visions in the basement; Jack (James Zimbardi) is guarded and careful to keep his feelings in check.

nix review

Mom keeps deceased daughter Tessa’s bedroom exactly as it was, and says she’s waiting for Tessa to return. She is clearly not expecting an adult version to walk through the door and has been in a kind of suspended animation since the fateful day.

After another death in the family, Lucas’s young daughter Zoey (Niesha Renee Guilbot) comes to live with them, and she and the remaining members head back to that camping site from the past, where the old lady and her lake creature familiar await.

As directed by Anthony C Ferrante and written by Ferrante, Zimbardi, Caleb and Woodrow Wilson Hancock lll, this is an oddly somber affair; all muted greys and sorrowful faces, and the lack of levity doesn’t encourage audience engagement.

nix review

The direction here is sparse with a severe lack of establishing shots and wide shots, which means a lot of the action seems to happen in a vacuum - you have no real sense of where people are in relation to each other.

The acting across the board including the children is good, and definitely elevates the material, which can come across as maudlin at times. A character that seemingly exists just to shoehorn in name Michael Pare lurks about but doesn’t contribute much to the proceedings; Jack’s potential future partner Liz (Angie Teodora Dick) fares better in the screenplay.

This is essentially a creature feature, so if you’re into that style of horror and it works for you then this is a perfectly respectable choice, especially as the creature itself is effective and quite creepy.

nix review

I like the past folding in on itself scene, but this movie feels overlong and seemed to take forever to reach a resolution. I was genuinely surprised when I found out it was only an hour and 40 minutes long.

There is a small amount of humour and it’s all the better for those moments - my favourite bit is when uncle Jack finds a videotape he shot when he was 10, young Zoe asks “what is it?” and at the reply “it plays movies” she says, “like a phone?”

A bit of story tightening, ditch the old lady of the lake, hone in on the lead a little more, and add a touch more humour, and this could have scored higher.

As it is, it’s not bad.

Nix is on UK/ROI VOD now.

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