Review: Beyond (12) / Director: Josef Rusnak / Screenplay: Gregory Gieras / Starring: Jon Voight, Teri Polo, Julian Morries, Dermot Mulroney / Release date: Out now
Sometimes straight to DVD efforts look good, they have good actors involved, they have a somewhat interesting story and yet they are denied a cinema release when dire stuff like The Roommate is given a wide release. One such example of this is the film Beyond which despite being very cinematic, set in picturesque Anchorage and starring Jon Voight, has sneaked out on to home video. Despite all of these elements working in the films favour, it’s such a lightweight piece of fluff with a seen-it-all-before story that no matter how entertaining it may be, nobody would ever be convinced it had a chance in cinemas.
Beyond starts promisingly with haunted child kidnap specialist Detective John Koski (Voight) hunting down and killing a criminal and rescuing a child much to the disapproval of the police chief (Dermot Mulroney). Koski is a man who will do anything to ensure that a kidnapper isn’t later released to re-offend and is driven by personal demons. Then the niece of the police chief is kidnapped and there are no leads. Her rich parents who have a troubled marriage enlist a television psychic named Farley (Julian Morris) to help track her down, who then comes into conflict with Koski who resists his help. The psychic seems to know everything about Koski’s troubled past and his visions seem to point to the fact that this kidnapping is anything but normal and that the girls imaginary friend might not be so imaginary.
For most of its running time, Beyond is a solid, entertaining B movie with some great character work from Jon Voight and Dermot Mulroney. However Julian Morris comes across like a poor man’s Orlando Bloom and seeing as many believe Bloom to be awful anyway you can imagine how convincing his scenes are. A great deal of Beyond’s problems lie in the fact that director Josef Rusnak doesn’t seem to know how to pace a film properly even though he can capture a cold and desolate landscape very well.
Beyond seems in a rush to get from the points it has to hit at A,B and C in its three act structure that any directorial flair is lost. A little bit more finesse and room for the characters and plotlines to breathe would have changed this merely entertaining movie into a great movie. Despite its well worn plot which has been featured in everything from Bones to The X-Files, it is a fairly solid piece of entertainment. For a while it looks as though it may head into Insidious territory but this is abandoned for a plot twist that you see coming in the first twenty minutes.
Beyond isn’t terrible, I have definitely seen worse straight to DVD films but it never rises above its TV movie of the week feel to be something truly great.