“Let’s play Chubby Bunny.” WTF?!
I recently got an opportunity to screen director Erik Bloomquist’s 2018 feature debut ‘Long Lost‘. And beyond completely shattering my “indie film” expectations I found a devilishly twisted psychological thriller within. Expertly produced, acted, and directed. Turning a simple premise into compelling, tense Hitchcockian-styled drama.
Seth (Adam Weppler) has no idea what awaits after accepting an impromptu invite from his previously unknown half-brother Richard (Nicholas Tucci). An untimely arrival ushers a foreboding that follows Seth around as Richard immediately begins to prod his “new” brother over any blunder or sign of weakness.
Richard’s expansive country estate sits as a mantle to the prosperity that has so far eclipsed fresh college grad Seth. And Richard has no problem resounding his own success in mocking contrast. Then after Seth “discovers” Abby (Catherine Corcoran) things quickly unravel into a stew of ambiguous, concealed motives and unforeseeable events.
Layers of anxiety and tension are built around the cocky, hopelessly
awkward anti-social Richard, his frustratingly flirtatious “girlfriend” Abby, and fish out of water idealist Seth. Richard’s unhinged intensity ensures that Seth can never relax–keeping a palpable threat lurking behind every potential misstep or slip of the tongue.
The settings and characterizations reflect the more calculated style and tone of a psychological thriller. Yet, despite a general lack of eroticism ‘Long Lost‘ is mistakenly(?) being marketed as an “erotic thriller”. Think ‘Suspicion’, not ‘Body Heat’.
The performances from the fresh cast are uniformly convincing. Corcoran obscures an alluring danger beneath the outwardly naive “Abby” and Tucci is wonderfully OTT menacing as the unbalanced, enigmatic Big Bro. While Weppler brings a reserved charm and notable empathy for our protagonist.
With genre mandated third act chaos, the film once again skews expectations in providing a deconstructionist twist. I usually welcome unknowable finale revelations; yet, here the results are mixed. Bringing in the always charming Fran Kranz (“Marty” from ‘Cabin in the Woods’) is much appreciated and the added layering is clever and surprising. However, it ultimately undercuts much of the character development already painstakingly built.
The 2018 film ‘Long Lost‘ offers drama, mystery, and suspense in precise doses and I remained engrossed from beginning to twist end. A pleasant surprise.