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The Attic Expeditions (2001)

Review

Author
Date
07-14-2002
Comments

Trevor Blackburn (Andras Jones, Nightmare on Elm Street 4) is constantly haunted by flashbacks. He cannot tell what is a dream, or what is real. He awakens in a sanitarium not knowing where he is, with no recollection of his past. When he meets Dr. Ek (Jeffrey Combs, Re-Animator) he is told that he has in fact been there for 4 years, making it 2004, present time. Trevor also learns from this pot smoking mad scientist that he killed his soon-to-be wife during some satanic-esque type ceremony, involving some sort of magical book. The book has remained unfound ever since the night of the ceremony. Dr. Ek tells Trevor he would like to keep him at the hospital for about a month, then he will be sent to the House of Love.

The House of Love is an evaluation center for troubled people. There are some very interesting characters here. The main patients he meets are Amy (who is there because she used to pick men up at bars, take them home to sleep with them, then call the cops stating she had been raped), Ronald (who has a talking puppet on his hand that claims to in fact be a person), Liz (who is non-stop always typing, she thinks if she stops typing the world will come to an end) and Douglas (Seth Green, Idle Hands), who is sort of Trevor's guide, letting him in on all the lingo of the house. He is also quite crazy. Trevor is haunted by dreams every night in this house. And all of the patients try to tell him hints of what is really happening, especially Douglas. He keeps getting haunting visions of the attic of this house, and a treasure type chest that is in the center of the attic.

Jeremy Kasten did a fantastic job of directing this surreal, out of the ordinary thriller. You're never quite sure what is real and what isn't, until the end. The dream sequences and the flashbacks are hands down the most interesting segments of this film, giving you a teasing taste of what happened the night of the ceremony, and how he ended up in the sanitarium.

Not a real gore element here, couple of "death by unusual implement" scenes but nothing for the gross-out meter. Some of the flashback scenes have a good deal of blood and quick shots of some gore (such as Trevor awaking with the top of his head removed showing the brain, and it looks better than the scene from Hannibal).

Kudos to Seth Green in probably the best role he has ever done. He has the most developed character out of all the patients, and he's full of good information and hints for Trevor. It seems that all of the patients have more to tell him other than what he knows, which is hardly anything, just bits and pieces. Jeffrey Combs stirs us up another dandy role in this film. He's on the pursuit of this magical book used in the ceremony of Trevor and his girlfriend. He has everyone in the House of Love under constant observation. Dr. Coffee (Ted Raimi, Skinner, Spider-man) was always intrigued with the work of Dr. Ek, until he gets to see it all first hand on the surveillance monitors in the house and sanitarium.

The most disappointing performances were from Andras Jones as Trevor and Beth Bates as Faith, his girlfriend. The characters seemed a bit undeveloped, especially the character of Faith. Trevor isn't so well at first (for instance when he wakes up with his head shaved in the operating room at the beginning), but he seems to grow into the role later in the film. There is also a notable cameo from Alice Cooper in the film as well. The only thing that really takes away from The Attic Expeditions is some of the acting. I myself was impressed with all of the unexpected loops that unfold, making the movie a nice fresh take on the "whodunnit" genre. I was surprised to hear bands such as the beautifully chaotic "Dillinger Escape Plan" and "Naked City" on the soundtrack. The movie score itself is really good too; it kind of has an 80's horror homage or a Danny Elfman-like feel to it. The DVD has a behind the scenes featurette, and the trailer for the film. If you are a fan of Jeffrey Combs this is a must see. I think it should have gotten much more notoriety than it did. Check it out.

Trivia: 

Seth Green's fee was getting his car detailed.

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