Welcome to Cult Corner where we dive through the bargain bins to determine if a movie is trash or treasure. Today’s pick… Jonathan Blitstein’s Another Kind.
A group of friends go hiking in the snowy woods. Bad things happen. They argue a lot. You sit in your seat bored wishing you were watching The Blair Witch Project instead. Some pretentious nonsense is thrown in at the last minute. The ending is anticlimactic and one of the songs from the Fallout 3 soundtrack plays. The end. That pretty much sums up my thoughts on the plot of Another Kind.
This really is about as basic a plot as it could possibly be, and these kinds of movies are really tough to get right. They go into the woods and bad things happen and they argue a lot. That’s the entire movie, and with a good cast, some clever writing, and some genuinely scary scenes this simple premise can create a rising tension that eventually boils over and creates something effective. If any of those elements don’t line up though all we end up with is something ridiculously boring, and that’s the case with Another Kind. When our cast sleeps, some multicolored lights shine through their tent. The tent poles go missing at one point. Eventually one of them won’t wake up. That’s about it. We never get a real sense of what danger (if any) is out there in the woods and the majority of the movie is devoted to our characters just arguing with each other about small annoyances. Arguing about not having a map, about missing tent poles, about a burnt hand, and about absolutely nothing makes for a really slow and boring film.
With almost all of the dialogue in the film comprised of everyone pissed off and yelling at each other, it’s really hard to judge how good the cast is. The dialogue sets them all up to be incredibly unlikeable and because of that I left with a bad taste in my mouth. There are a few scenes where they get to calm down and have some fun, but those moments just aren’t enough, especially since the biggest one is basically just a montage of them sledding down a hill. We have Jamie, Nate, Laura, and Patrick. Jamie dips out about 10 minutes into the movie for almost no reason (she gets into an argument with Patrick). Patrick is the one who knows the mountain that they’re hiking on. Nate and Laura are a couple. They’re all fine, I guess.
The best thing about this movie hands down is the directing. Jonathan Blitstein knows what he’s doing behind a camera and a lot of the angles are really nice and even inventive. I could have used a few more shots of the environment, but having seen both The Hateful Eight and The Revenant in theaters this week I’m a bit spoiled for snowy environment shots. Still, this looks like a real movie with a real budget, it’s just a shame that this is totally wasted on this script. Blitstein wrote the film as well, and his writing just isn’t up to snuff. I get the feeling he wrote this with a budget in mind, but the lack of special effects also comes with a lack of any real threat. There are a couple of clever ideas throughout, but the film is never tense and there’s no payoff at the end. Again, this kind of movie is really hard to pull off.
I’m going to just cut to the chase here. You’ve seen this movie done before, and you’ve seen it done better. There’s absolutely no reason to watch Another Kind because since they didn’t absolutely nail it, it’s just boring and tedious to sit through. I think Blitstein is capable of directing a much better film than this, but he seriously needs to get someone else to write it for him.
Here at Cult Corner we cover the weird and obscure. Given the low budget that these movies often have we feel the need to recognize that entertainment value and quality aren’t always synonymous. That’s why we have opted for the “trash or treasure” approach in lieu of a typical rating system. After all, Troll 2 is incredibly entertaining but it’s no 8 out of 10.