The Hard Drive
I have been waiting a while to see this film because I’m a fan of director Don Coscarelli’s Phantasm films and the excellent Bubba Ho Tep but like almost all independent films it never got cinema release and the their UK distributor went bust so there’s still no UK release yet but it is available on iTunes so I downloaded it. I heard very mixed reviews but that just intrigued me more. Fortunately my wait was rewarded with a strange quirky film with a good sense of humour and I have already watched it a few times.
This film is narrated by its main protagonist David Wong (Chase Williamson), a young man who has a meeting with a writer Arnie Blondestone (Paul Giamatti) at a quiet Chinese restaurant. David has something he wants to tell Arnie but the story is so fantastic he is approaching it slowly. The film is basically the stories that David recalls as he talks to Arnie, often in answer to a question from Arnie but there are many asides to the audience too.
There is not a obvious central plot but the stories revolve around the effects of a strange new drug called soy sauce and David’s adventures with his best friend John (Rob Mayes) afte they have taken it. This is a black liquid that seems to move around as if it has life of its own. John gets the drug from a fake Rastafarian who talks bollocks called Robert Marley (Tai Bennett) and he calls David in a panic the morning after. The main effect of the soy is to change the user’s perception of space and time so they can perceive past, present and future in different order. One example is when John is trying to explain this to David and David gets a phone call from John from some other time. One side effect of the soy is the ability to perceive creatures from other dimensions and portals into them. Now they use their soy abilities to help people who are having strange problems and we it has other properties and other sinister secrets.
There’s a plot of sorts involving a police detective (Glynn Turman) who is investigating the deaths a group of soy users who all exploded including Robert Marley but this only a small part of the film. There’s a charismatic TV psychic Dr Albert Marconi (Clancy Brown) who helps the boys out with guidance and practical assistance when the boys find themselves in over their heads. There’s also a strange intense man called Roger North (Doug Jones) who seems to be wanting to guide the boys.
The lack of overall plot wasn’t too much of problem for me because I liked the characters and their sense of humour. It is a stoner horror and there is a sense that like other stoner films this film is a series of stories linked only by the characters and mood and the conversation between David and Arnie. The effects are weird more than horrific with a mixture of CGI and physical effects with puppets etc and they help create a dreamlike quality to this film that is similar to the feel of the other films Coscarelli has done. I Like the quirky sense of humour and think I’l be watching the film a lot and as a bonus the music is pretty good too.