director Mickey Keating
Mickey Keating’s horror film Pod is a little hard to discus because it operates on some misdirection and a lack of knowing what the operative horror is, though it does come back to that old saw, “What is down in the basement?”
And I don’t want to give it away.
Keating builds the story of three disconnected and somewhat estranged adult siblings who are brought together to help cope with the crisis of one of the brothers, Martin (Brian Morvant), who has holed up in the family’s rural Maine cabin, talking delusionally. Martin is ex-military and fresh out of psych facilities. Ed (Dean Cates), the more settled and “adult” one, wrangles Lyla (Lauren Ashley Carter) to head out to the cabin to see if they can help the seemingly deranged Martin.
In some ways, the building of the fraught family dynamic is the film’s greatest strength, constructing Lyla and Ed’s obvious discomfort with one another before they set in on the ranting ex-GI. It’s a slow build to the final act where everything goes crazy (it’s a horror film, you know it’s not going to end like an episode of A&E’s Intervention, with mellow tunes, sunshine and redemption.)
To spill the details would be to ruin the film, though the film itself is a bit coy throughout. Not just the question of Martin’s sanity but even the nature of “the pod” or an explanation for what ensues.
I watched this with my kids, who both also enjoyed it. While questions abounded for them, I’m reasonably happy to sit with questions, if the reasons for the ellipses seem to make sense.
I noticed Lauren Ashley Carter last year in Jug Face (2013) and was really taken with her. She’s terrific again here in Pod though she has less to do in the latter part of the film (than scream and cry), which is too bad. She and Keating have another film released this year, Darling (2015), which seems like it really gives her room to do her stuff. I look forward to seeing it.