Carly’s rock-star boyfriend Brad has had a breakdown. Although Carly doesn’t realise it, Brad has stopped taking his medication and is experiencing vivid flashbacks of a brutal childhood. He is also secretly making plans for a musical comeback that Carly fears might shatter his sanity entirely.

Meanwhile, in her other role as a psychiatric nurse, Carly takes especially gentle care of Mia, a softly spoken mental patient who is prone to outbursts of outrageous violence. Mia appears to have some kind of obsession with Brad. Carly finds press cuttings about him in Mia’s bedroom. And when, on the dark and stormy night that Carly is expecting her estranged mother to visit, Mia attacks and kills the nurse and orderly who have been abusing her (a great scene) and escapes the institution, the stage is set for a reunion more powerful than anyone could imagine. There will be mutilations and slayings, there will be the shattering of illusions and the revelation of dark and twisted secrets. It isn’t just Brad who is tortured by the past. As a character states in the mid-point of the story, “Everybody deserves to know where they came from” and tonight Brad, Mia and Carly are on a visceral collision course towards discovering the truth about themselves.

To tell you any more of the story would be to ruin its surprise. Director Shawn Shao-Wen Chou (who also shares a story credit) and screenwriter Bert Havird have created that rarest of animals, a horror film with a genuine emotional resonance that is as affecting as it is terrifying. ‘Reunion’ is a tremendous achievement, and Chou is well served by an exceptional cast: Maria Olsen (who also co-produced the film with Chou, Precious Hilton and Thelonious Alexander) is remarkable as Mia: deceptively quiet, at times almost somnambulistic, but then she vents her rage with a ferocity that is absolutely chilling. And yet, despite all the cruelty she deals out, Mia is also the sympathetic heart of the film. She is, in the most classic way, the monster-as-innocent, and when the truth of her is finally revealed Ms Olsen’s performance is so pure and honest that we feel Mia’s pain. It is a beautiful performance.

Ruth Reynolds, who plays ‘Young Mia’ in the film’s frequent (and masterfully edited and inserted) flashbacks, is also a revelation. With comparatively little dialogue she creates a character we can be frightened for as she endures the brutal violence of her alcoholic husband (a great performance by Christopher Wolfe). Sarah Schreiber, as Carly, is the closest the film has to a heroine and she fits that part well, with guts and vulnerability, taking a character that could easily have become a ‘damsel in distress’ cypher and making her somebody to care about. Jack Turner, as Brad, was also a surprise. With his boyband good looks, Brad could easily have been a vacuous cookie-cutter pretty-boy with a complicated past but Turner’s performance gives Brad a dimension that always keeps us engaged in his journey. He avoids all the traps other actors could easily have fallen into, which is as much a credit to the acting choices Turner made as it is to Bert Havird’s fine screenwriting. Reign Morton and Cara Santana, as Brad’s band mate Grant and Grant’s girlfriend Tamryn, also deserve a mention and, very finally, Cris Alex’s make-up FX (especially towards the end of the movie) and Ian Arber’s musical score are also highly impressive.

‘Reunion’ is a co-production between ACH Reunion and MOnsterworks66 and talks are currently being held with several UK distributors so, fingers crossed, it should be hitting our big screens very soon. When it does, make sure you don’t miss it. It is, so far, my favourite horror movie of the year. 5 stars out of 5 doesn’t begin to do it justice.

Movie Review: MOnsterwork66's Reunion
5.0Overall Score
Reader Rating: (7 Votes)

About The Author

Ian White is an author, screenwriter and journalist. His book ‘Witchcraft and Black Magic in British Cult Cinema’ was recently published by Hemlock and he is a regular contributor to ‘Paranormal Underground’ and ‘Starburst’ magazines. He’s currently writing a new book and screenplay and his embarrassingly out-of-date website can be found at http://ianwhitelondon.wix.com/ian-white