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Robert John Burke,
A group of hunters enters a ghost town in Central Asia with a mission to kill packs of abandoned, and now wild cannibal dogs. But tables turn and there seems to be no way for the hunters to survive the horrific battle.
Written and directed by Edward S. Barkin from his play, this debut feature is excessively moderated due to the author's limited psychological perception that serves to hamstring his cast and prevents development of their roles during a film concerning two young men and the target of their desires, the rift of the title referring to contention between Tom (William Sage) and Bill (Timothy Cavanaugh) over the latter's spouse Lisa (Jennifer Bransford) for whom the two longtime best of friends share passion. Characteristics of a tyro director abound including twitching hand-held camera-work and iterative dream sequences, while a voice-over narration by Tom attempts to clarify actions of the characters whose behaviour is quite consistently unpleasant including downbeat dialogue between the married pair clouding their relationship, and a self-destructive bent by Tom, an LSD imbibing songwriter of ghastly lyrics, with all impacted by a psychiatrist (Alan Davidson) whose menacing mien is somewhat Satanic and who is treating Tom upon urging from Lisa, also a patient, who is concerned because of Tom's habitual nightmares and who hopes that therapy will be beneficial. An exceptionally cheerless aura punctuates the piece, too infrequently diluted by humour, and Tom's disposition to emotionally withdraw from his friends seems mannered, due in the main to a large amount of footage of him swimming in discomfited thought, but it is after all an initial effort in a tough business, and deserves respect for the travails of all involved, acting laurels going to Cavanaugh for deepening his character, notwithstanding the director's uninventive application of Lee Daniel's camera skills.
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