Help Review – A Slow Burn, Gripping, Psychological Thriller, See it

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Help, from Ridder Films, brings to the screen a taut slow-burn psychological drama, as a weekend birthday celebration between friends unravels as facades fall, secrets are revealed, building a traditional mystery that ends with a shocking twist.

The film begins with Grace, played by Emily Redpath, breaking up through Facetime with her American boyfriend. To soothe her sorrow, she visits her best friend Liv, played by Sarah Alexandra Marks, and her boyfriend, Edward, played by Louis James, at their country home.

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Upon arrival, she is met by a mildly autistic neighbor, David, played by writer/director Blake Ridder, who speaks a single ominous word, and walks away. Grace opens the door and without hesitation, makes her way around the house, and it is clear she is comfortable.

Moments later Liv and Edward show up and the weekend begins.

Throughout the evening, as they are reminiscing, there is an underlying tone as Grace is clearing trying to drive a wedge between the two. Her attempts may go unnoticed by Liv, when she gives him a humidor with cigars, filled with baby blue wrapping, and mentions the are the exact ones that Bill Clinton had in his office during the Monica Lewinsky affair.

By dinner, Grace is a bit more brutal in her attempts, as she “outs” her alleged best friend’s single lesbian encounter, and finally stabs her in the heart as she hammers home her infertility.

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Since she is staying for the weekend, she is staying in the guest room, when she hears what sounds like physical abuse coming from the next room. The noise is obvious something is wrong. The next morning when they decide to hike, Liv tells her to take a sweater from the wardrobe, which is when Grace finds a bloody dress.

It is on the walk that Grace asks her about the noise and notices her bruised defensive wounds. Liv hides the abuse and explains that Edward does crazy exercises before bed and that was what she heard. The tension continues to build as Liv explains her feelings, and Edward seems ready to explode. We see Liv sitting in the bath with bruises all over her. Grace asks her what she wants to do, and Liv tells her she wants him to suffer.

Liv and Grace make sure Edward is very drunk, and in the middle of the night they break into the safe and steal all his money, and other belongings he had stored for safekeeping. While they are trying to rob him, his beloved dog Polly, walks into the room. As the safe is also in the makeshift office, weight room, Edward has left a barbell sitting on the table. It slowly rolls off crushing the dog’s skull. The two are mortified and have no idea what to do, so they decide to bury the dog.

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The next morning Edward is up and unable to find his dog and the two women try to explain they’ll take the car to try and find him. He sees Liv’s bag and realizes she is leaving him. Suddenly the scene turns chaotic, as David walks carrying the dog. Edward reacts violently beating him, Grace tries to pull him off him, he hits her she falls back and hits her head, and finally Liv knock him out with a log.

This is when the slow burn explodes with intensity.

Help, a chilling suspenseful psychological drama, pulls the audience toward a shocking unexpected and climatic ending. Electrifying, the slow burn tension continues to mount as each element neatly build a classic puzzle, pointing to a logical conclusion, only to discover the final pieces are missing.

Help presents a modern twist on the noir genre. As the film is limited to three main players, the strength of the performances rest on the talent and they deliver. Filmed over just twelve days, due to UK lockdown restrictions, only 20 cast and crew members were involved. 

Help, grabs on and won't let go.  Available on February 15, 2022, on iTunes, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and Microsoft. See this film.

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Country: UK.

Language: English.

Runtime: 96minutes.

Release date: February 15, 2022.

Writer/Director: Blake Ridder. 

Producer: Louis James. 

Executive Producer: Lucas A. Ferrara. 

Cast: Louis James, Emily Redpath, Sarah Alexandra Marks, Duncan James, Blake Ridder, Amy Jim, Stuart Wolfe-Murray.

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