31 Days of Horror: Film #18 POD
Pod is a little indie sci-fi horror film with a small cast of characters, set primarily in one cramped house, with a running time of less than 80 minutes. Not everything clicks but it is rather effective, eliciting scares and paranoia when it finally sets the hooks in.
The film is about a brother and sister who go to see their estranged brother Martin after receiving a strange phone call. Martin’s had mental problems since getting kicked out of the military. When brother and sister arrive at Martin’s house in the middle of the woods, they find the windows covered with aluminum foil and the living space completely trashed. Martin’s badly bruised, he's saying weird stuff, and acting totally manic. He says he locked up a creature—Something alien? Something the government made?—in the basement. Martin’s terrified of the creature and is certain it means to kill him. He thinks it has been hunting him since he witnessed something unexplained during his time in the military. Martin’s brother thinks Martin has totally lost it and needs to return to the hospital. His sister’s believes every bit of the story, though, and begins to share Martin’s terror.
So is Martin crazy? Or is there really something awful in the basement? Perhaps it’s a bit of both? This is where the movie really works, because we’re never quite sure where we stand. Martin sounds completely insane and so our rational mind sides with his brother. . . but the genre fan sides with the sister as we want to believe the story, on some level we want the horror to be real.
The film has issues in the first half as too much time is spent on arguing siblings yelling at each other. It’s not great drama or great dialogue and the actors don’t do much with it. By the middle of the film the scares kick in and the film starts clicking, with everything working much better than earlier on.
I liked Pod. It largely works because there’s something irresistible about the idea of a monster in the basement. It’s a terrifying notion but of course we just don’t allow ourselves to believe it. So, driven by some need to be right, we set out to dispel superstition and madness, to reveal the monster as something misunderstood or something birthed by paranoia. Pod puts the characters in that situation and turns it up a notch. It’s pretty cool.
Writer of horror, science fiction, and dark fantasy. Lover of fiction and film. Lifelong Godzilla fan. Reluctant blogger.
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