“This is Johnston’s first feature as a director – and it certainly shows.”
After catching her boyfriend in bed with another woman, Claire decides to pack up her life and move from sunny Los Angeles to windy Chicago. After a surreal experience at a rest stop, Claire misplaces her mobile phone, and to make matters worse, her car breaks down in the middle of nowhere. When a creepy man picks her up and takes her to a mechanic who agrees to fix her car, Claire stops in at the local watering hole where she confuses the bartender for her boyfriend and then passes out at the counter. Waking up bound and gagged, Claire realises that she was drugged, and that her nightmare has only just begun.
Megan Freels Johnston directs Ashley James (White Elephants, TV’s Hustle) and Mark Scheibmeir (Under the Western Sun, Necronomica) in independent chiller Rebound. Previously a producer and director’s assistant, this is Johnston’s first feature as a director – and it certainly shows. Problems arise straight away with a long and drawn out flashback of Claire’s soon-to-be ex-boyfriend and his new girl romping in the bed that plays out during the opening credits – the camera lingering on the redhead’s facial expressions, which although quite disturbing at first, unintentionally descends into something more comical as the scene drags on.
This first failed excursion into Lynchian-like surrealism is just a minor niggle when compared to the problems that go on to litter the film, however. A far from original storyline to start with is made a chore to watch by a bad script (by Johnston) that is filled with poorly realised characters – the worst of which unfortunately is the main protagonist Claire, who rather than instilling any empathy in the viewer, is instead just annoyingly pathetic to the point where you never feel for the predicament that she finds herself in. Dialogue fairs no better either – stiff and ham-fisted, it is further marred by some awful acting that, despite the odd game moment here and there, ranges from amateur through to the cringingly bad.
Still, perhaps this could all be forgiven were the film remotely suspenseful, scary, or indeed disturbing when it attempts to be, but the fact is that it really isn’t any of those things either. Available to view on Amazon, perhaps Rebound’s only blessing may be that it is free for Prime members. Paying viewers, however, may be feeling the bitter sting of regret before the first act is over.
Director: Megan Freels Johnston
Starring: Ashley James, Mark Scheibmeir
Release date: 2014
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Watch Rebound (US)