Review by James Lindorf
Written and directed by newcomer Stephen Portland, Something is a psychological thriller starring Michael Gazin (Friday Night Lights), Jane Rowen (Dark Corridors), Joel Clark Ackerman (Split Second) and Eric Roberts (The Dark Knight). A couple is struggling to adjust to life with their new baby. The woman, possibly suffering from Postpartum depression, is growing increasingly frustrated with the cries for attention of her child. After the latest breakdown she can’t fight the nagging feeling that someone has been in their home, watching them. Her husband blames the paranoia on stress and a lack of sleep. Despite her pleas, he refuses to cancel an upcoming business trip, until he catches a glimpse of an intruder on the baby monitor. Now, unsure of whether they are being harassed by a stranger or being driven insane, the two of them fear for their safety and that of their baby. Something will be released with a limited theatrical run March 1st and on Blu-ray/DVD on March 5th.
For his first foray into filmmaking, Portland chose to embrace the horror genre in his own way. Unlike a more traditional low budget horror movie which relies on gore and jump scares, Portland turned in a moody piece. Something is filmed entirely in one location, presumably in Los Angeles, but the exact location isn’t important. In fact, most of the elements are left intentionally vague so the audience can put themselves in the story. There isn’t a single character with a name. They are listed in the credits only as man, woman, cop and so on. Portland wants you to believe that this is something that could easily happen to you. I think it was a great idea. The story approaches horror from several different directions. Is it an intruder story, a supernatural story or something more sinister? You will be left guessing until the final moments.
With an understated story, acting is the most crucial element. The film is solely in the hands of Gazin and Rowen for approximately 98% of the 86-minute runtime. Unfortunately, their performances have numerous peaks and valleys. They struggle in the quieter moments when they are just a pair of new parents who are supposed to be in love, and are at their best in the moments of suspense. Luckily, this means that they improve as the film progresses. The dialogue between the two is natural and relatable, which is no small feat for a first-time writer. Something is a good little film that hints at a bright future for Portland as he grows as a writer and director.