Movie Review: Abstruse (2019)

December 13, 2019

Written by DanXIII

Daniel XIII; the result of an arcane ritual involving a King Diamond album, a box of Count Chocula, and a copy of Swank magazine, is a screenwriter, director, producer, actor, artist, and reviewer of fright flicks…Who hates ya baby?

Justin (Kris Reilly) and his best friend Daniel (Dennis Marin) hope to coerce a duo of barmaids, Mindy (Jessika Johnson) and Amanda (Kaiti Wallen), into making ye olde porno, which naturally results in Justin strangling Mindy to death.

Amanda is none to thrilled, makes her escape, and informs the police… but they do jack shit since Justin’s daddy is a hot-shit senator (Dennis Haskins). Thankfully for our heroine, her dad Max (Tom Sizemore), is an ex-con and he plans on fixing the score. Unfortunately for our heroine, Justin is completely insane and begins going all-in on the murder biz. Will she be able to survive his machinations with her hide in one piece?

Abstruse may seem like a action thriller on the surface, but this one has more to offer than you’d assume. First of all, the flick seems to exist in it’s own noir flavored reality where nearly everyone is corrupt or violent… or some combination of the two. Not a place you’d want to find yourself, that’s for sure.

Speaking of the denizens of that wicked world, we have a solid ensemble cast assembled here with Sizemore leading the pack in the type of hard-ass role he excels at, and Reilly going full American Psycho in his psychotic rich kid role. To be fair, the whole cast is great, and the narrative  courtesy of  writer/director Harley Wallen manages to retain focus and momentum without giving short shrift to any of the major players involved.

And what a crazy narrative it is, full of twists and turns, unsure allegiances, and plenty of suspense and tension. It’s a complex story for sure, but never becomes anything else than fully engaging as you attempt to figure out just what is going on exactly.

Bottom line, if you are looking for a twisty-ass thriller that has a flavor all of it’s own and a slew of great performances, give Abstruse a go!



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