Lionsgate // 2009 // 90 Minutes // Rated R
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // August 13th, 2009
Every addiction has a price.
Cravings (a.k.a. Daddy's Girl) opens with a nude woman sliding into a bathtub and opening her wrists. Jumping ahead, things get even cheerier, as we meet Stephen the psychiatrist (Richard Harrington), a dude struggling with deep personal grief and actually thinks his apartment may be haunted by the aforementioned dead girl. Cheerier still is Nina (Jaime Winstone), the young woman he's been counseling. She's a piece of work; weird, moody, and possessing a rather nasty habit of drinking blood.
Stephen is determined to find out what's at the root of her eccentricity, and posits a few theories about the mental illness that prompts an attractive girl like Nina to toss a poodle in a blender and suck down the sinew. That poodle thing, by the way, is real and unfortunately represents pretty much the only worthwhile thing in this plodding affair. That, and the ending, a savage little twist that lends weight to my belief that this whole film would have been better served as a condensed, half-our addition to a horror anthology.
It's the pace that brutalizes the experience. The suicide opening is an attention-getter for sure, but after that the film digs in and moves forward with the momentum of a Rubix cube on a ski slope. I'm not actually sure that metaphor works, but what I'm going for is "slow." The horror elements are scattered throughout and appear too infrequently to rescue the film from tedium. Instead, you get a lot of screen time with Stephen pacing about nervously, talking to his coworker friend, working his psychiatry mojo on Nina, and more nervous pacing. In short, there's way too much psychology and not nearly enough terror.
Stick with it, though, and you'll be rewarded with a fairly cool ending. There's a few plot turns that rejuvenate the narrative and the last scene is nasty. It's just not enough to salvage an otherwise stultifying horror mystery.
Lionsgate threw together a bare-bones release. The visual (1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen) and technical (5.1 surround) merits are fine, but a lack of extras forces this DVD into the No Frills Bin.
Guilty. That will be $100.
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Scales of Justice
* 1.85:1 Anamorphic
* Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround (English)
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2009
MPAA Rating: Rated R