The Taking, the first feature length film by The BAPrtists (Lydelle Jackson and Cezil Reed) is a bold and well crafted horror film. Upon viewing, the time, emotion and care employed to create this film exudes from the screen and forms an impressive entry in to the cinematic universe.
We meet Carl (John Halas) and Jade (Alana Jackler). Carl’s fiancé, Carolina (Linda Rodriguez) has cheated on him with his best friend. Jade’s daughter was murdered by a man (Frank Bliss) and was never caught. They have both somehow found themselves tied to trees in the woods. They suffer from bizarre and horrifying visions and are tormented by a family that perform various rituals. Each vision seems to possess them, and leave them bloodier and weaker. They are frequently confronted by the very cause of the rage that may have brought them to the woods; Carolina and the man that killed Jade’s daughter. Carl comes to the realization that this is a place to face one’s demons; or suffer a horrific fate.
This film is told via very dizzying and rapid fire scenes from multiple points of view. It places you securely within the madness that is occurring on screen. There is not much dialogue, and most of it is spoken by an unseen force (via haunting sounds and subtitles) and The Grandmother (Lynette Gaza) who carries out the aforementioned rituals with the help of her family. Combined with music that will most likely cause nightmares (courtesy of Leland Jackson), The Taking is a quite satisfying hallucinatory experience.
When filmmakers are making their first picture, there generally is a small budget and limited resources, which understandably leads to marginal acting, sub-par effects and just less than desirable components that produce a final product short of what was imagined. The Taking is an exception. Jackson and Reed wisely put their money where it would be of the most use. The acting from every person in this film was on point. The family in the woods were all quite eerie. Most of them just glared and did not speak. Gordon Price as the father reminds one of Angus Scrimm as the Tall Man from Phantasm, as he lumbers around the woods. The effects were minimal but effective; just lots of blood and neat shots of an evil sky. Most of the horror comes from well put together bloody images and scenes rather than poor CGI or shoddy make up and costume work usually found in a lot of low budget films.
The editing and directing of this film are quite fantastic. The film is much like an acid trip; one second everything seems normal, the next thing you know, horrible visions appear, everything spins, voices speak and madness ensues. These scenes are usually stopped by a black screen to bring us back to some sense of reality, only to unravel again and again. There is excellent composition in many of the shots that linger for a few seconds, and the colors contrast well. Brilliant green of the leaves against the dark grey skin of a broken man tied to a tree.
The only issue that occurred in the film was at some points, it was difficult to hear what Carl was saying. This may have been from the DVD copy, but occasionally, his lines were too soft and unintelligible. This really did nothing to detract from the film, the story was still well understood.
This film is complete, and while it has a 2012 date, there is no scheduled release for it yet. Movie Scum will definitely keep you in the loop regarding that.
This is an impressive first film. It is not a safe film. This is a “We are the fucking BAPartists and we have arrived,” film. You will either like it, or hate it. Although I can’t imagine anyone who appreciates quality film hating it.