Immortal is a terrific quasi-horror/thriller anthology that forgoes the traditional blood and guts for a more thoughtful approach that fully plays into its title.
The four stories play out like some of the bigger mind screws and ironic installments of Tales from the Crypt or Black Mirror. Screenwriter/co-Director Jon Dabach has a skill in pulling out some fun twists that put me on an emotional roller coaster of wanting more, feeling like I was punched in the gut and perfectly satisfied with the payoff.
Chelsea kicks off the fun with an unexpected take on high school life. Dylan Baker stars as the cool (I’m dating myself now) Head of the Class style high teacher with a knack for getting through to his students — even the ones who consider Twitter their daily dose of reading.
One day he notices one of his students Chelsea (Lindsay Muchett) getting harassed by her track coach and vows to make sure that doesn’t happen again. Like with most of the tales in Immortal, offering up more details would cross into significant spoiler territory.
Baker plays the concerned and relatable teacher well and Muchett doesn’t make Chelsea the cliche brainless blonde. Of the four stories, Chelsea wrapped almost too soon as the fun seemed to just be getting started. That story almost could have made for a full-length film there were enough angles to develop and pay off.
Gary and Vanessa focuses on an couple expecting their first child. Out of work and wracked with feelings of inadequacy, Gary (Brett Edwards) conceives a wild insurance scam and his very pregnant wife Vanessa (Agnes Bruckner) is reluctant to go along with the plan. Everything goes fine until the cable guy (Mario Van Peebles) actually shows up to fix their problematic cable.
Now Gary is going to have to take matters in his own hand to ensure his family has the comfortable financial future they deserve. This one comes the closest to having a “horror” element just from the graphic payoff, but it doesn’t feel gory just to show some blood.
Ted and Mary features Tony Todd and Robin Bartlett as a couple being interviewed about assisted suicide. The interviewee, Alex (Vanessa Lengies, Waiting), is very gentle and accommodating. After hearing Ted and Mary’s arduous journey since Mary was diagnosed with cancer, Alex and her film crew want nothing more than to do their story justice.
This is a very different performance from Todd, who works against his natural deep and booming voice to show a softer, nurturing side. It’s a subtle and surprising performance.
Wrapping things ups is Warren. Warren (Samm Levine) celebrates his birthday with a walk in the park only to get struck by a careless driver. Embodying the film’s title, Warren learns he can no longer feel pain although there are some side effects. Curious about the cavalier driver who left him for dead, Warren hires a PI to gain greater insight on his would-have been killer.
Immortal is a well-laid out anthology as the four stories have just enough time to get the payoff across without overstaying their welcome. This tends to be a problem with some anthologies that stuff the film with too many stories when only half are worth the investment. Four is an ideal number for Immortal and its concept before it started becoming too predictable.
One thing that holds Immortal back is the pristine and clear cinematography. Everything looks a little too clean and would have benefited from some film grain to avoid that shot on a perfect digital camera visual. It’s a minor issue, but visually the film would have looked better with that added cinematic touch.
Immortal was a great surprise and an anthology film worth seeing out for thriller fans.
Rating: 9 out of 10
Photo Credit: Stonecutter/
Immortal is now available on VOD