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When Jodie goes missing, her parents are left behind to pick up the pieces. They frantically try every option to get her to come home, or for her kidnappers to release her. While they search the mortuaries looking for clues, a private investigator discovers a murky world and a terrible secret everyone wants to keep.Written by
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This is the second film by director Spencer Hawken, and if you are familiar with his debut film Death Walks, you'll find that No Reasons is a completely different animal.
Death Walks is a relatively light comedy horror - a popcorn movie, if you like. With No Reasons Hawken has taken another path, and this path leads you to places that you really don't want to think about, let alone go.
Make no mistake - this is a dark movie.
I'm not just saying that for effect. No Reasons is not for the faint-hearted or sensitive viewer, as it deals with subjects that will make most people very uncomfortable.
The film begins with Paul (Marc Bannerman) and Sally (Lucinda Rhodes Thakrar), who are approaching the first anniversary of their 15-year-old daughter Jodie (Elisha Applebaum) going missing.
The story expands as we are gradually introduced to a bunch of mostly unsavoury characters including villain Julian (Roland Manookian), local journalist Kevin (an admirably creepy performance by Daniel Smales), down-on-his-luck private investigator Maurice (the wonderful Daniel Peacock), therapist Dr Spencer ('Allo 'Allo's Vicki Michelle), school teacher Mr Taylor (Jon Guerriero), pushy Simone (Lorraine Stanley) and assorted police officers (Louise Michelle, Scott Mullins, Alan Hitching, Peter James Hole).
I won't go into further details regarding the plot as you should discover it for yourself, but it won't surprise you to know that things are not as simple as they appear, and there's at least one horrible secret to be uncovered.
Following swiftly on the heels of the no-budget and mostly amateur-made Death Walks, No Reasons is a step up in quality in many regards. Hawken and his core crew appear to have learned a lot in a very short time.
Working with a budget meant that Hawken could hire some professional "name" actors (Peacock, Bannerman, Michelle, Manookian, Stanley) to work alongside Death Walks stalwarts Mullins, Guerriero, Smales and Holly Boeva, who all seem to have been inspired to new levels of performance by working alongside more experienced colleagues.
The film also looks more professional visually compared to the raw style of Death Walks, with impressive cinematography and some excellent location work. Tom Wolfe supplies an atmospheric score which adds so much to the downbeat mood of the film.
The opening scenes are incredibly well acted and directed, and brilliantly portray the utterly devastating effect a missing child can have on the lives of the parents. This is proper drama.
Of course this is a Spencer Hawken film, so there are twists and shocks in store as the story unfolds towards the ending, which will leave you open-mouthed and lost for words. When the final scene played out and the credits rolled, there was complete silence in the cinema. One viewer eventually broke the silence with a simple "F***ing hell."
There is a lot to the story, which unfolds gradually - tortuously even. That is probably my only issue with the film - I think it could perhaps have been tightened up a bit so that it moved along at a slightly quicker pace. I don't mind a slow burning film but a few times I found myself wanting to know more, right now! Although perhaps this could actually be a positive, that the viewer starts to feel as tortured as some of the characters!
No Reasons is almost certainly going to create some controversy. It is a bold, grim and unflinching exploration of the darker side of life that rarely shows its face to the world.
Spencer Hawken was reportedly influenced to write No Reasons by reading about two horrible real-life stories in a newspaper. He is of the opinion that tales based in the reality of everyday life are far more terrifying than those featuring fantastical and fictional creatures.
Based on No Reasons, I think he's probably right.
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