|studio||Hocus Focus Productions|
|trailer 1||Trailer #1|
Most Micro-budget filmmakers can hardly afford to hire a name actor or actress for their latest opus at all—let alone offer them the lead role. Filmmaker Jason L. Liquori (ALL WRAPPED UP) did just that. After working with the tireless Debbie Rochon on three anthology productions, Liquori wrote a tour de force performance for Rochon. Not only does the actress have to carry the film, she is the film! Save for a few walk-on appearances from some very minor supporting characters, SAVAGED is 86 minutes of nothing but Debbie Rochon and a 90 lb puppy named Lotus (Played by the directors dog Valkrie).
Maria Longosi (Rochon) has taken a job housesitting for the Morans. But she’s not just there to take care of their dog Lotus. Maria is on the run, hiding out from an abusive boyfriend who’s not only a threat to her, but to her friends and family as well. As if Maria’s personal paranoias weren’t already enough, her mother keeps calling with reports that a bear is loose in the neighborhood. When Maria lets Lotus out after dark (expressly against the wishes of the Morans) she soon fears that the bear has killed Lotus. Now, trapped alone in the house with a missing dog, a vicious bear nearby and a steady stream of increasingly deliberate text messages from her boyfriend, Maria begins to fear for her life—but bad boyfriends and bears are only the beginning.
For such a simple set-up (woman alone in a house is terrified) Liquori surly set himself a Herculean task with this film. For one thing, Rochon has to make conversation with mostly herself, the dog and a voiceless mother who calls a lot. Also not taking to heart that old adage about working with animals, the other star of the film is Liquori’s dog. What makes the film interesting is that, we more or less know going in that the dog is gonna be something more menacing than a big hulking hunk of fur. It’s that same kind of tense anticipation we see in CUJO when the animal is simply laying on the ground outside the barn. Because that suspicion is supplied at the outset, the film offers a lot of opportunities for Liquori to provide misinformation or even to suggest potential subplots, one of which involves the fact that the police can’t seem to contact the Morans. It’s interesting questions like this that the film presents, but not necessarily takes the time to answer that make the screenplay more than just your average talk-a-thon. Most low-budget filmmakers suffer from a problem where their script is either too narrow (focusing on only the main story line) or its desperate to tie up every loose string it can find. SAVAGED doesn’t suffer this problem.
Where it does suffer is that it feels like it needs a few trims near the middle when repetition begins to set in—but with the film already running at under an hour and a half its hard to say if the cuts would help or hurt in the long run. Like I said before, nothing much is going to be a problem for fans of Rochon who generally see every manner of movie for the 5 to 15 minutes of screen time she’s usually allotted. Welcome back Debbie, it’s fun to watch you carry a movie again.