THE RIZEN (2017)
Directed by Matt Mitchell
Written by Matt Mitchell
Starring Laura Swift, Patrick Knowles, Christopher Tajah, Simeon Willis, Laurence Kennedy, Lee Latchford-Evans, Tom Goodman-Hill, Adrian Edmondson, Bruce Payne, Sally Phillips, Stephen Marcus, Justin Groves
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While I admire the low budget ingenuity going on in THE RIZEN, the story occasionally lags in the pacing department, making the film an ambitious, yet flawed endeavor.
A woman (Laura Swift) wakes up in a hallway with what sounds like a war going on above her and gauze wrapped madmen racing through the halls eager to eat her. Soon she is joined by a professor and a soldier, both in the same situation—bereft of memory or any idea how they ended up in this predicament. Slowly, the woman begins to remember bits and pieces of her mission while the number of monsters in their path seems to grow.
So basically, this is a film about people running down one hallway, fighting monsters, and then running down another hallway to find more monsters and so on. This is what makes up the bulk of the film and I think had this hour and a half film had maybe two or three less hallway fights with monsters, it would have been a sleeker and more streamlined little TWILIGHT ZONE episode. In between hallway monster battles, we get a few vague scenes of the woman being brainwashed and manipulated by some military types, which seems to be providing clues as to who she really is. Again, this is an intriguing scenario, but the repetition is what makes this film feel really redundant in the final half hour when all we get is a kind of skipping record effect. I understand that this is meant to give this revelation behind the identity of the woman more of an impact, but I don’t think it hits the mark successfully due to some acting issues from the supporting cast. Swift is pretty strong as the lead, but those around her either have a weak script to work with or simply lack the ability to bring that script to it’s intended level of power.
This is a fun movie in terms of visceral thrills like the look of the monsters (they sort of look like the nurses in SILENT HILL without all of the nice curvy parts) and the excessive violence used in defeating them (Swift and the other cast members in peril hit the monsters and excessively comical amount of times in order to defeat them). This punches up the story which does feel redundant after a while with some much needed mindlessness. I like the ideas writer/director Matt Mitchell adds to THE RIZEN including a sort of TWILIGHT ZONE, labyrinthine loop the characters seem to find themselves in. At times, THE RIZEN is downright badass, but this film is both in need of a solid edit and an expansion of the ideas that are more repeated than elaborated on in the narrative.