Movie Review by Samuel Taradash
Starring: Arielle Kebbel, Sarah Carter, Stephen Dillane, MyAnna Buring
Director: Paddy Bereathnach
If horror films have nothing else to teach us, it’s that popular kids shouldn’t abuse people who are unpopular or different because bloody vengeance and poetic justice will… wait, what? Oh, right, we already knew that. In the decades since CARRIE, audiences have learned to fear the wrath of the mistreated outsider as it was visited on fresh batches of blandly attractive popular kids each movie summer. So, what does RED MIST bring to the game? Unfortunately, not much that’s new. Essentially, it’s I KNOW WHAT YOU DID LAST SUMMER (in medical school), with a dash of SHOCKER for flavor.
A promising bunch of medical students, lead by the optimistic scholarship winner Catherine (Arielle Kebbel), bad boy Sean (Martin Compston), Hot Topic goth Vanessa (Sara Boyd-Wilson), and some others with no distinguishing features, find their partying interrupted by Kenneth, the awkward hospital custodian. Is Kenneth a slightly creepy voyeur who may be stalking Catherine? Possibly. Did he also film them taking prescription drugs from the hospital to supply their party? Definitely. One thing leads to another, and soon our young doctors have to make some difficult decisions. And when one of them tries an unorthodox drug treatment to save the comatose Kenneth, they all find themselves being haunted by an out-of-body assassin with death on the brain.
The good news is that RED MIST is a competently assembled film with a decent sense of tempo and mood. Director Paddy Bereathnach uses the confines of the hospital to create a fine sense of claustrophobia and tension. But the story is still a retread of a repeat, with all the clues brightly signposted then read aloud for the slower members of the audience. The more laughable plot points undermine the solemnity of the delivery, and none of the actors have much character apart from Martin Compston, who brings the belligerent menace of a rabid Pekingese to his degenerate doctor-in-training.
Despite all that, there is still one serious scare to be had from RED MIST. The lead characters are medical students, with the hippocratic oath still fresh in their notes. And yet they all engage in deception, theft and drug abuse, before planning and contributing to the poisoning of a man with clear mental disability. Then, after choosing their own prosperity over the life of a sick man, they try to deny their involvement while their colleagues start turning up in the morgue. Even the nominal hero of the film happily commits forgery, fraud, and performs experimental drug tests on a human subject without consent. This film claims that doctors, the people we trust to protect our health, could easily become amoral sociopaths with clear disregard for life just because they don’t want to deal with someone who isn’t cool enough for them. And that scares me more than any of the easily spotted shocks in this forgettable effort.