“Five strangers awake in an abandon two-story house with a few unanswered questions racing through their minds. Who are they? Where are they? Why are they there? They soon discover that the obvious answers are not always the right ones. With nerves stretched thin, and time closing in, those remaining realize that if they want to escape from the forsaken place, they will have to work together to solve the puzzle, taking them on a psychological maze of murder and mayhem that is… PURGATORIUM”
The premise of PURGATORIUM could have easily turned on itself, had it been approached by anyone else, but it’s obvious that writer/director Travis Miller did his homework on this film. It’s a well-crafted horror-noir that gets more layered as it goes on, and as each character’s past comes back to haunt them, the film gets better and better. It’s also probably one of the nicest looking indie films that I’ve seen in a while, the cinematography is gorgeous, as the color palette that Miller went with does wonders for the film.
The characters in the film each have their secrets and it’s enjoyable to find those secrets out with each revelation that Miller gives us. It’s a good character study, and it’s refreshing to see a film that takes its time introducing you to those characters and letting the story play out little by little instead of the typical MTV frantic style that a lot of mystery films rely on these days. It gives you an idea of who the people in question are before pulling the rug from under you, when you least expect it. It’s almost like a mystery-horror hybrid of THE USUAL SUSPECTS and IDENTITY and gives one of the coolest twist ending payoffs that I’ve seen in a while. I don’t want to give too much away with this film, as it’s a film that really benefits from not knowing much walking in, nobody ends up being who you think they are, in fact the majority of the characters end up pretty much the opposite of what you think.
It’s obvious that Miller has a love for the horror/mystery genre, because PURGATORIUM wears that love on it’s twist-filled sleeves, and if it’s anything like this film, then I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what Miller does next. If you’re in the mood for a well-written and shot film, I’d give this one a look or two when it plays at a nearby festival near you.
PURGATORIUM is getting ready to be screened at multiple festivals in the near future, as soon as we get some additional info on those screenings, we’ll update you folks.