BIND

Print Written by J. R. Southall

Retitled American Conjuring on this side of the pond in an attempt to broaden its appeal, Bind is a confusing mishmash of genre affectations that takes a clichéd premise and, in spite of the occasionally effective moment that nearly redeems its existence, squanders most of the good intentions of its creators thanks to a rather cack-handed attitude to its production. As it stands, neither of its names really tells you anything of what to expect; The Amityville Shining might have been more appropriate.

Ben and Carol, along with their two girls, are persuaded into buying a huge but suspiciously cheap property, and as we all know, huge but suspiciously cheap properties come at another kind of price...

As long as your location is suitably spooky – and the house chosen for the shoot is big and run-down enough if nothing else – this by-the-numbers approach to horror storytelling should allow room for plenty of scares. But the two Dans are making poor decisions at almost every step. The prologue which spans the otherwise fairly decent opening titles, for example, in which we get an understanding of why the house might not be the most attractive of investments, sees the Dans so focussed on their visuals that the actors, all but one of which are children, aren’t remotely convincing – the result being a sequence which is head-scratchingly comical when it ought, in spite of the obvious signposts to its resolution, to have been shocking instead.

The diabolical ADR in the opening sequence proper is a more understandable budgetary issue, but the film’s visual approach needs to be watertight to make up for its other shortfalls. Sadly it’s the Dans’ over-concentration on the visuals that is Bind’s most obvious problem; shot through an incoherent variety of coloured filters, presumably to try and give it the presence of a David Fincher picture, it’s the choice of colours – particularly when certain mid-sequence shots turn up without the appropriate lenses installed – and frequent over-exposure of the imagery that make Bind look like a ridiculously ill-thought-out affair.

There is a potentially interesting if predictable and too broadly drawn dynamic between the four members of the family, but it’s the unwieldy attempts at naturalistic dialogue that ultimately stymie the actors, who are mostly better than competent but struggle with the material. The fact that the haunting itself can’t seem to settle on what kind of supernatural event it is leads to an inconsistency of narrative, albeit one that the final twist attempts to explain – but the eventual about-face so undermines the rest of the movie you have to question the wisdom of including it.

There’s undoubtedly a reasonable film here somewhere. It’s just not the one that turns up on the screen.

Extras: Trailers / Commentary / Deleted Scene / Behind the Scenes

BIND / CERT: 18 / DIRECTOR: DAN WALTON, DAN ZACHARY / SCREENPLAY: KEN KING, STORY BY DAN WALTON / STARRING: DARREN MATHESON, LYNN CSONTOS, ELIZA FARIA, MACKENZIE MOWAT, DEBORAH FINKEL / RELEASE DATE: AUGUST 8TH

 


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