ABC Film Challenge – Thriller – P – Painkillers (2018) Movie Review

Director: Roxy Shih

Writer: Giles Daoust (Screenplay)

Starring: Madeline Zima, Mischa Barton, Debra Wilson, Naomi Grossman, Grant Bowler, Maria Olsen, Adam Huss

Plot: Plagued by guilt following the death of his son in a car crash, John Clarke, a brilliant surgeon comes to realize that the only thing that can ease his pain is the taste of human blood.

Runtime: 1 Hour 23 Minutes

There may be spoilers in the rest of the review

Story: Painkillers starts when surgeon John Clarke (Huss) is involved in a car accident which will see his son die, John finds himself with an ultra-rare version of PTSD which will see him struggling to control the shakes, until he finds a way to stop it, human blood.

This brings Herb Morris (Bowler) into John’s life, giving him a chance to try and get back to his normal life, but his wife Chloe (Zima) and boss Gail (Wilson) start to worry about his behaviour.

Thoughts on Painkillers

Characters & Performances – John Clarke is a brilliant surgeon who is involved in a car accident which kills his son, he is left shaken by the events of what happened, in a rare form of PTSD which will see him unable to control his body, constantly shaky in pain. He needs to find a way to stop the pain and shakes, with the first solution being human blood, which will see him needing to balance the right thing or turning into a monster that can’t control his blood lust. Adam Huss does a solid enough job in what is a difficult role with the shakes taking centre stage. Chloe is the concerned wife, who is mostly there to only be concerned, not have a proper discussion about the loss they have been through. This is the same as John boss Gail, who is trying to find the best for John in the future. Herb Morris is the man that offers John a solution which does cure him for a time, only his methods will leave John questioning what to do next. We don’t have any strong performances mainly because the characters just don’t seem to get anything to work with.

StoryThe story here follows a man that is suffering from a rare form of PTSD after the death of his son, which will see him struggling with shakes of pain that learns the cure could be drinking human blood, leaving him in a position of not knowing what would bet her right thing to do. This is a story that could easily have a lot to work with, we have loss of a child, which should have been given a lot more time, a potentially new medical condition, which again, should have had more scientific side to everything. We seem to get caught up on trying to bring a fresh approach to the vampire idea, only telling the audience it is all a myth.

ThemesPainkillers is a thriller that doesn’t have enough suspense in the film and fails to capture the locations strong enough, leaving nearly everything flat.

Final Thoughts Painkillers is a flat thriller that doesn’t dive into the storyline themes in a strong enough way.

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