Review by Dante Jordan
I can’t even lie to you. When The People Garden was once sent to me, I thought “Hmm. It has potential. Looks like it could be pretty good.” But I’ve been hurt before, so I fully expected it to suck big elephant balls. But guess what? The boy was wrong. The boy was wrong and this movie is actually pretty good.
Written and directed by Nadia Litz and starring Dree Hemingway, Pamela Anderson, and Francois Arnaud, The People Garden is a movie about a girl (Sweetpea) who travels to a faraway Japanese jungle to break up with her rockstar boyfriend who’s there shooting a music video. Or she thinks. Shortly after arriving, she and the entire video production crew are unable to locate her boyfriend, and after a few more eerie encounters, Sweetpea soon discovers that this forest is way much more than a video venue. It’s a suicide forest. DUM DUM DUMMMM IT’S LIT.
I really wanted to sit down and bash this film because I’m a terrible person who’s full of negativity, but it’s hard to do that when you enjoy the movie. While not driven by a bunch of eye-catching action, The People Garden manages to keep your attention for the full 82 minutes by creating an air of “something big is about to happen” that has you on the edge of your chair the whole time. You just feel like a death or something is near. You know it. And you’re right. The movie is just tense. The whole movie is tense and the music behind each scene makes the hair on the back of your neck stand straight and yell “YO! WHAT THE FUCK’S GOING ON?!” It’s awesome. I’d love to give you more than that, but I’d risk giving the movie away and I don’t want you coming for me over that.
Aside from the plot and feel of the movie, the acting is really good. I feel like the casting was perfect and everyone involved played their role well, especially Dree Hemingway. Much of the movie revolved around her isolated experiences, and there aren’t many actors or movie that could be carried that way. This isn’t one of them. From the moment she pops on the screen to her very first words, you’re locked in. There was even a solid Save The Cat (yeah, I been reading screenplay books. Get off me.) moment that created a connection to her. You really wanted her to win. You wanted to her find her boyfriend and hit him with the most sinister “I’m not mad, I just find it funny how…” of all time. Does she get that chance? Watch the movie and find out.
So what would I rate this movie on my scale of Theater, Redbox, or Nah Nevermind? Honestly, if I would’ve dropped my $7 to see this in theaters, I wouldn’t have been mad one single bit. It’s a solid ass Redbox, but if you were to see it in theaters, you wouldn’t be mad about it. It’s clearly a lower budget movie, but they turned that little bucket of money into a compelling pot of gold of a thriller.
Lastly, I just want to say, Pamela Anderson didn’t have a major role in this movie, but the scenes she was in, she did really well. And also at the risk of sounding like a pig…there’s a short nude scene with her, and let’s just say age (and a bunch of plastic surgery) have done that body well. Good for her.
Release Dates: Opens in LA and additional markets – Sept. 13 and available on VOD – Sept. 13.
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