Reel Advice: Imprint
By Steve Anderson Feb 11, 2009, 13:44 GMT
Critically acclaimed Native American filmmaker Chris Eyre (Smoke Signals, A Thief of Time) presents the supernatural thriller Imprint, directed by Michael Linn. The film tells the story of Shayla Stonefeather (Tonantzin Carmelo), a North American Indian attorney who once fled her cultural background and shunned the spiritual practices of her ancestors. After successfully prosecuting a Lakota boy in a difficult murder trial, Shayla now returns to her family\'s South Dakota ...more
I really hate movies that promise so much more than they deliver.
Reading the back of the box plot synopsis for Imprint suggests a ghost story of frightening magnitude. They even tried to compare it to The Sixth Sense. And of course, I was pretty enthusiastic about the whole thing.
I would find little more than disappointment, however.
This time, it's a Native American attorney, Shayla Stonefeather, who's just wrapped up a big case prosecuting a Lakota teenager for murder, and is on her way home to visit her ailing father and see the rest of her family. Upon her arrival, she begins seeing visions and hearing voices that lead her to connect these occurances to the disappearance of her brother two years earlier. Shayla follows the various clues until she reaches a shocking conclusion.
And from the sounds of that, you'd think it's scary, until you consider one thing. It won a best film award at a film festival...but not a horror film festival. It won at a Native American film festival.
There's a very good reason to bring this up--Imprint is a lot of things, but what it's very much not is scary. Mentioning The Sixth Sense in the same breath as this sludge is an insult to halfway decent Shyamalan. In fact, much of Imprint was boring and slow-moving with little payoff. The "visions" they mention so breathlessly on the back of the box only occasionally appear, and when they do, they're either visions of normal things incongruously located (a hook and pulley appears where a phone receiver once hung), or of poor-quality CG humanoids that vaguely resemble smoke.
I will, however, give credit where credit is due--Imprint has a real corker of an ending. Indeed, it's a very good ending that brings together a lot of seemingly disparate elements in a fantastically full-circle conclusion. The only problem with this, of course, is that you have to slog through about seventy minutes of the most boring crap on the face of the earth to get to it.
The special features include Spanish subtitles, audio options, a blooper reel, cast and crew bios, a behind the scenes featurette, and trailers for Imprint, Ghost Image and Hide.
All in all, Imprint is really, really hard to get through. Once you do, however, you get a pretty nice payoff. It's up to you, however, if the struggle is worth the surprises.