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Sundance Review || "Reversal"

There's a flicker of hope early on in Reversal. A scuzzy captive batters her captor, gaining the upper hand and chaining him in the very binds she was kept in for who knows how long. She scours the house for car keys, stumbling upon a folder filled with Polaroids of similarly imprisoned females. She rages downstairs, pistol cocked, face splattered with blood from their recent altercation. Tensions run high and the stage for a decent horror flick is set. And then she opens her mouth.


Reversal is a film that really isn't horrible so long as no one's talking. When they're forced to peel through Rock Shaink Jr.'s hacky script, it is. It really, really is. Cheap and stinking more of cheese than bleu basking in the sun, Shaink Jr.'s dialogue are first draft-worthy cliches shaped into an incoherent series of events likely to incur frustration ("Why doesn't she just call the cops!") and walk outs (nearly half my theater dumped out before the end).

José Manuel Cravioto's misplaced direction doesn't help the matter. But it's only fair to cut him a little bit of a break. English isn't his first language and it shows. Thoroughly showcasing his foreign" director status, Cravioto tries on material he must not linguistically understand. How else can you account for the absolutely horrendous delivery of some of an already shoddy script?

A handful of his shots prove tempestuous, particularly when no one's speaking. From blood-splattered slow-mo walks to explosive fits of violence, Cravioto has an eye for setting the scene but not the ear to discern performances.

It's not that Tina Ivlev is terrible so much as her scenes seem rushed and "first take". Richard Tyson gets out a hair better, but similarly fails to overcome the bargain bin script. Which is a true disappointment. Films of this nature - female-led revenge flicks - ought to empower. Rather, the whole thing feels discounted and inauthentic - the artifact of two men trying to capitalize on feminine rage.

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