Directed by Peter Hurd and starring Brad Dourif, Ross Destiche, Jenna Enemy, and Justen Jones, The Control Group is a movie that I didn’t even know I needed before seeing the preview. It follows a group of abducted college students who are experiencing crazy hallucinations after being drugged and placed in an abandoned insane asylum. They must figure out how, and why, they have been placed there and whether or not the hallucinations are fake, or if there is something supernatural going on.
As I stated in my first article, The Control Group debuted at the Twin Cities Film Festival back in 2014. After 3 years we, the viewing public finally have the chance to see it for ourselves. As you can tell by my tone in the first paragraph, I liked it a lot. Let me tell you why you all should give this film a chance.
First, if you have read any of my previous articles, you will know that I have a bit of an obsession with ’80s horror. The effects in The Control Group are mostly practical. To the younger audiences, it will seem as if the CGI that was used in the film equaled a low budget, it reminded me so much of the ’80s horror electricity, giving the film a familiar and welcomed nostalgic fuzziness. No matter how much nostalgia you get while immersing yourself in to this horror gem, it doesn’t take away from the suspense and mystery that immediately ropes you in. Let’s discuss this next.
Suspense is the make-it-or-break-it ingredient in a horror film. Without it, terror can’t exist and the audience will get bored pretty quickly. From the beginning of The Control Group, we are thrown in to a “machine already in motion” scenario. These college kids have already been abducted and are very confused as to how they got there. As the film goes on, more is revealed in regards to how they got there, what their purpose is, and what their sinister abductors have in store for them. Trust me, it is much worse than just a clinical trial.
The Control Group only falters in not having many likeable characters. However, it recovers that shortcoming by giving us relateable ones. Sometimes in life when you have been hurt, it is incredibly hard to trust anyone. In this horror film, these social constructs are explored and honestly, I was highly entertained by it. There is quite the quirky potential psychic (Kodi Saint Angelo) that I found to be highly entertaining. She had me laughing and face-palming throughout most of the movie. She was a nice break from the brooding personalities that the rest of the cast had to offer.
Overall, I honestly loved this movie and will be picking up a copy once it is released. Brad Dourif’s role is great and he plays it up perfectly. The ’80s effects made me feel at home from the get go and the story was pretty enjoyable. The Control Group releases via VOD on March 20, 2017, and I highly recommend that you set aside some funds to pick up some good old fashioned horror. Currently, there is also a DVD release period in May of this year. So far, the good streak for horror is continuing in 2017.