By Liz Lopez

Rating: B –

Hostage is the feature directorial debut of filmmaker Eddie Augustin after work on several short films. He and his long-time collaborator, Laura Polisena co-wrote and produced a story about a character, Ashley (Nicole Henderson, “Bizarre Murders” TV Series”). The pre-teen has a life altering change and some people who have a hand in creating the initial chaos in her family home continue to do so years later. Several of the actors in this film do not have experience in feature films, most have television series to their credit and/or short films. Despite this, they are very good at portraying their characters in this story.  Henderson is very effective in her performance as the teenage version of Ashley, and not one the audience may care for when she behaves very entitled and generally a bad person. The title of the film is generic, but there is some good storytelling in this film that elevates it from the predictability of what other hostage films may have shown us before. As the filmmaker states for Terror Films about the story, “everyone has their own evil motive (of course some are worse than others).”

Cinematographer René Arseneau is also skillful in helping tell the story in limited spaces (in a suburban house, in a diner, a living room or basement). “The experience was challenging at times,” said the director. The only time I recall seeing the light of day is toward the end and I won’t spoil that for readers. 

A young man named Mark (Mike Cannz, “Mysteries of the Unexplained” and “Forbidden: Dying for Love” TV series) is looking for a house to rob on Christmas Eve, with his motive unexplained. He picks a suburban home that is dark, seems unoccupied and he breaks in through a window. After rummaging around the living room, he is surprised and attacked by Ashley, the teen who lives in the house. Mark soon finds himself hostage by the young girl and adults who return home, Thomas (Daryl Marks, “Hotel Paranormal” TV series) and Grace (Tina Trineer, Were-Wool, This Night Belongs to Him (short).

Additional cast members to be highlighted are Maria Jimena Osorio (all shorts: Signed, Sealed, Remembered, Halfheart, The Booking, Smile & Dial) who is shown as the female in the home when Ashley is a pre-teen. She is very good in her dramatic role and the look/screams of terror of what occurs in the home feel authentic. Ashley has a teen love interest named Thomas (Simon Pelletier, District 31 TV series) and his performance in this role is quite good as he transforms from “the puppet” in the diner to someone Ashley did not read very well. Thomas follows through, but he is not manipulated.

From Terror Films, Hostage is now available digitally.  For more information, visit www.terrorfilms.net

Length: 83 minutes

Rating for this Canadian film is whatever letter you want to tag it with for violence, language and smoking.

Source: Terror Films

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