I know I’m not alone when I say that kids in horror films almost always annoy me. I know that I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. Typically, they’re solely used for lame plot devices or side characters to advance the plot in some asinine way. Of course, I know that there are exceptions, but not everyone can be Linda Blair or Heather O’Rourke. So, being that Aberration appears to feature a kid dressed for a Misfits concert, my expectations for the film were off to a bad start. Needless to say, as I watched it, the film didn’t seem to want to improve those expectations.
Christy Dawson just wants to be a normal girl in high school. Unfortunately, amongst the typical struggles of a teen in high school, Christy has a bigger problem. Turns out she’s seeing the deaths of people in her dreams. She’s also being haunted by a young boy who warns her more deaths will happen and only she can stop it. The only person who believes her is Kyle, one of the stars of the school’s hockey team. Kyle soon becomes the prime suspect in the string of murders, despite Christy’s insistence that he’s not the killer. It’s up to Christy and her gift to figure out the killer before it’s too late.
Right, so I suppose that I should find something good about this film before laying out the cold, hard truth. Aside from the inclusion of my favorite sport (hockey!), I suppose that would go to Gwendolyn Garver, who was not only our protagonist, but also pulled double duty in writing the script. As such, she seems to really have a handle on her character, and made things tolerable. As for the supporting cast, Kristian Capalik was enjoyable as Kyle. The chemistry between his character and Gwendolyn’s was your typical high school crush, but it wasn’t made overbearing. Everyone else, however, was in the amateur hour of things, which I guess leads into the negative side…
Now I know that it’s unfair of me to judge a film based solely upon it’s cover art. I really did try to look past the obvious clichéd use of dead kids in bad makeup as a plot device. But honestly, after getting past that, the film itself isn’t much better. For starters, the cover art and the film’s premise make this out to be a horror film. It’s not. It’s along the lines of a thriller, and a dull one, at that. The murders are fairly bloodless and uninspired, and the supernatural elements aren’t used to their full potential. Despite a good pace, the film doesn’t do much to entice your full attention. Even the twist at the end doesn’t save this from being a run-of-the-mill murder mystery with weak horror elements thrown in.
What really pisses me off is when studios try to pass a film off as something that it’s not, especially when the something that it’s not is garbage. Trying to cash in on the cliché “ghost kid” trope in horror is one thing, but trying to make the film appeal to horror fans by vaguely referring to a film like The Ring is a sign that you know your film is weak, and so you try to sell it as something that it’s not. Throw in high school students who look to be 15 years older than they should be, lame makeup effects and some conspicuous plotholes (along with a hockey commentator who is somehow worse than Bob Cole), and Aberration is sunk.
Really, there are much better films out there with similar plots that do better, and while I hate to slam a film involving obvious talent like Ms. Garver, there’s no way around it. Aberration will frustrate horror fans for the deception, and will bore thriller fans for not running with what they’re given. Go check out The Sixth Sense, Stir of Echoes or another film with similar pieces that are done correctly.
Presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen, the picture shows off a healthy level of unobtrusive grain. Colours are consistent, though appear washed out. Detail is good, though in darker scenes, contrast is weak. Overall, it’s adequate for the film.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track matches up well with the video’s quality. Dialogue is clear and free of distortion, while ambient and directional effects are also well taken advantage of. There isn’t much punch to the track when it comes to the lower end effects, but what’s here is okay.