It’s hard to pull off a good supernatural thriller these days. Every possible angle has already been exploited hundreds of times. All you can hope for as a writer or director of this type of film is that your story is compelling and endearing enough to keep the audience’s attention for 90 minutes to two hours. Filmmakers have to hope that the one or two “twist” or “surprise” endings they decide to utilize out of the five dozen already used will fit convincingly with the rest of the tale.
All that being said, “Beyond” has an uphill battle to fight from the very beginning. Add to the struggle the extremely unoriginal title of the film and you have something most consumers and renters will walk by without even giving a second glance. Although it isn’t anything new, the movie does hold its own and delivers a little intrigue and entertainment.
The movie revolves around a family whose daughter (Chloe Lesslie) disappears under seemingly supernatural circumstances. Before she vanishes, Amy draws spooky pictures and has an imaginary friend she makes her mom (Teri Polo) prepare breakfast for. At their wit’s end, the family turns to a radio psychic (Julian Morris) who claims to be having visions of where their daughter is. They band together with him and a skeptical detective (Jon Voight) to solve the case and find the girl before it’s too late.
The actors all deliver good performances. Everybody who should act suspicious does. The only guy whose character gets thrown under the bus is Julian Morris. Not only do writers make him a radio psychic, which is looked at these days as just under a career as a used car salesman, but they have him use a Ouija board to try to contact the dead.
Morris is likeable in the role, much as he is in “Pretty Little Liars,” but made to appear hokey and unbelievable in his choice of tools. Although I don’t believe you should play with contacting spirits, most people look at Ouija boards as nothing more than a board game like “Monopoly.”
There’s the typical misleading writers like to thrown in to send us in the wrong direction as far as suspects go. Unfortunately, the ending of the film was rather anti-climactic and the big reveal of who’s to blame won’t come as a surprise to most viewers. It’s hard to shock anyone today.
Director Josef Rusnak succeeded at steering the film. The actors work well under him and the pacing is consistent. He really did the best he could with the hand he was dealt. I’m not saying the script was awful, it’s just that these types of movies are hard to pull off after audiences see “The Sixth Sense” and other movies in the genre.
There are no special features to be found here to sweeten the deal for consumers. I can’t believe producers or filmmakers couldn’t put together a five or 10 minute “Making of” featurette. There’s not even a trailer provided.
The Blu-ray release of “Beyond” isn’t going to make anyone want to rush out and scoop it up in the stores right away. It’s one of those movies you either rent from Redbox or buy while digging through the $5 DVD box at Walmart on a Saturday afternoon. If you’re a fan of supernatural / psychological thrillers, this does hold up better than your typical Lifetime made-for-TV movie.
For more articles by Eric Shirey, check out:
Blu-ray Review: “Monster Brawl”
DVD Review: “Abraham Lincoln Vs. Zombies”
DVD Review: “Nazis at the Center of the Earth”