A wealthy man believes his wife is trying to drive him insane and hires a private detective to investigate her.

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Devin Bayliss
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A wealthy man believes his wife is trying to drive him insane and hires a private detective to investigate her.

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Thriller

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27 January 2009 (USA)  »

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Music by David Thompson
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Performed by Katie Grace & Michael Karloff
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"Nevermore" Brings Back Suspense and Dialogue to Film
9 March 2009 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"Nevermore" is the brainchild of Thomas Zambeck, a man who has worked in various capacities for the film industry all of his adult life, including employment with the biggest distributor of films today (which shall remain nameless). This is the story of John Usher (Judd Nelson), an ex-CEO who believes his wife (Jennifer O'Dell) is trying to drive him insane. To catch her in the act, he invites an old friend to watch over the house and keep an eye on his wife. But then john begins to suspect that his friend, Devin Blayliss (Vincent Spano), cannot be trusted either.

Zambeck has crafted his film as a combination of Edgar Allen Poe (note the use of "Usher" and the title) and 1940s films such as "Gaslight". His goal is to bring back real' suspense to the thriller, and I think we can say that he has succeeded in this respect. The plot unravels slowly -- but not too slowly -- and relies almost exclusively on dialogue to carry the film. Relying on dialogue can kill a film if you have an attention-deficit audience or poor scripting. While the former is unavoidable, the latter is not a problem here -- the dialogue is superb, through and through.

What shines is the way the conversations not only carry the plot forward, but stories that seem to be "subplots" are in many ways integral. Devin's explanation that an artist must play God with his audience turns out to be crucial, and even the sheriff's unusual gerbil story has a deeper significance when one opens their mind to the possibilities. (If the sheriff has any "stand-out" scene, it is the gerbil scene, and is worth watching twice.) The one technical problem I ran across was poor sound quality on occasion (lack of a proper sound stage caused echoes), but there was never a moment you couldn't hear the actors, so unless you're picky, you shouldn't have a problem with this. (Keep in mind our friend Rolfe Kanefsky had "Nightmare Man" in theaters and distributed on DVD everywhere, and his quality isn't particularly stunning.) Regardless of sound, the video quality was great (this is no mere indie film), the directing and cinematography is skilled (not innovative, but at certainly experienced and knowledgeable), and the acting is flawless.

And why shouldn't the acting be flawless? We're talking about Judd Nelson! "The Breakfast Club"? Or, perhaps horror fans have see "Cabin by the Lake" and its abysmal sequel? Nelson is the sort of actor you want in your film -- he brings the wit, animation and charm of Charlie Sheen without the unnecessary flash. (Had Sheen been in this picture, for example, I don't know if I would have remembered the character's name, or simply have referred to him as "Charlie Sheen".) I don't want to see Nelson become stretched too thin, but seeing him in more horror/thriller titles wouldn't bother me in the slightest.

At this time, "Nevermore" is not available to the general audience. But I want suspense fans to remember the name, because Zambeck brings classic suspense out of the attic, polishes it up, and displays it for the next generation. We've become accustomed to in your face action and excitement, but if done properly, slowing it down is a nice change of pace. And Zambeck does it properly. Keep your eyes open for "Nevermore".


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