“Static” is a new suspense/thriller from first time director Todd Levin. The film follows Jonathan and Addie Dade (played by Milo Ventimiglia and Sarah Shahi). The two are facing marital problems after the recent death of their young son. Their situation becomes more complicated with the arrival of a young woman at their door named Rachel (Sara Paxton). Rachel’s car has broken down and she is being stalked so she asks the Dade’s for help. All is not what it seems on this quant lakeside property.
I want to talk about the aesthetic look of this film because it’s very rare that a first time filmmaker get’s the incredibly polished look that this has. There is some beautiful still shots of the lake, the house and the countryside all in the opening scene. This is accompanied by a beautiful piece of piano music that we hear several times throughout the film. The set design and layout of the house is really old cottage style and it looked great. The personal up close camera work is fantastic too. It’s really intimate and helps add to the suspense when things start escalating. The sound effects are used carefully and creatively as well. From the chirping of crickets, to creaking doors and music through a cd player, it was great.
Moreover, I thought that the acting was really consistent and realistic. Milo and Sarah really do look like a married couple so kudos on the casting. Both performances require a level of subtlety and these two deliver that. The best thing about the writing is the connection you can make with the couple. They are going through the worst situation and nobody should have to experience it. Anybody who has, will know exactly how they feel. We get some nice flashbacks to their lives before the incident, it helps us to see what type of people they are. Initially things feel a little bit slow but it’s only a short time before the plot starts getting interesting. The score could have used a little bit of work during the stalking and chasing scenes, just to help make it more suspenseful. I wouldn’t describe this as a predictable film but I had my suspicions when I realised the masked strangers weren’t in any hurry to attack the couple. i figured there was more to the story then meets the eye. I’m not sure how else things could have been done to try to avoid that connection.
I think what Todd has created here is a great little indie suspense thriller. I commend him on the aesthetics and technical aspects I think they only need minor adjustments. I admire the ending and the confidence in taking a specific direction. However, I think it would have worked a little better as a pure home invasion movie. I really believed this couple and their chemistry, I also loved the masks the intruders wear. I congratulate Todd on a solid first film. This felt very similar but better than the foreign film called “Them”, crossed with another little indie gem called “The Frozen”. Two films I really liked and this one is every bit as good!
My rating for “Static” is 7/10