Reviews: Psychological horror in the Holly Kane Experiment
The Holly Kane Experiment,
Directed by Tom Sands,
Starring Kirsty Averton, Nicky Henson, James Rose, Lindsey Campbell
A psychologist with a very unusual technique that allows her to alter how human minds perceive things is forced to take a Government assignment when a malpractice suit threatens to ruin her. As the experiment goes further and further along, the lines between the real world and the medicated brainwashing that goes on become blurred and indistinct.
This film felt a bit like a shorter film that has been padded out to be called a feature. There are too many scenes and strange story arcs that are unnecessary to the main plot, to say the least. Which left me in a little bit of a pickle. As a reviewer you try to judge a film as a whole piece, not the individual parts that make that complete piece, and here it’s hard to do as there are indeed some really good parts. And then the padding that leaves you scratching your head as you wonder why they didn’t just make a phenomenal short film instead. I know that the funding is partly the reason for this and the other is perhaps the ego of the filmmakers. A great short film can be like a Chocolate Eclair, beautiful and quickly devoured, leaving you longing for more from the baker.
Holly is a young and ambitious psychologist, who uses a technique to brainwash subjects to control, or change, their mental state. When a fraudulent malpractice suit forces her into working with a Government group her insulated life gets thrown out of the window and she finds herself working to their agenda now. The film then goes into some strange places, some that you’ll be glad to see if you’re a fan of the psychological thriller genre, and others that I suspect will make you cringe and roll your eyes.
The performers here should be held upon the shoulders of the filmmakers and those who financed the film, as they stand high above the script which sometimes, more than a few times, fails to execute the ideals you know they want to come out. Kirsty Averton as Holly is the case in point. My enjoyment for the most part of this film came from her tortured performance as Holly. The film has too many branches that are left partially withered rather than nurtured and fulfilled.
There is a romance that should have been developed more and the camera work in some scenes make you wonder what is going on. But there was also a thought that crept through my brain as I watched this. Maybe this wasn’t a short just painfully expanded. Maybe this is a series that has been squeezed into this 50/50 film. I could easily see many parts of the film that in the context of fewer than two hours being stretched out masterfully, with the right writers, to being a four episode thriller instead of this mix, albeit a mix with some pretty interesting ideas and moments.
The film takes you to some uncomfortable places, to be expected, for this genre, and does not go where I thought it would lead. The Holly Kane Experiment left my mind in two different places, a film that is something that I would gladly watch on a Saturday night, and yet I have a few problems that would mean I wouldn’t want to be the one that brought it to a movie night party. A mixed offering perhaps, but one saved by some fine acting and some intriguing elements.
The Holly Kane Experiment is available on Video on Demand now