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Ten Years Later (2013)
Tonight's Short Presentation

TEN YEARS LATER (2013)

Starring: Wonder Russell, Lisa Coronado

Written & Directed By: Kris & Lindy Boustedt

See It Here: http://youtu.be/55_KllEVCRM


The Story

Alice (Wonder Russell, The Collectibles) lies flat on a cot, staring at the ceiling.  It’s easy to guess from the orange coverall that she’s in prison.  The music is angry.

Now’s she’s out.  The anger is still there; she can’t wash it away.  Where will she go?  What will she do?  Who will she do it to?

The angry music stops.

Katie (Lisa Coronado, All My Presidents) steps out for a ride in her SUV.  She’s the picture of normalcy.  The car won’t start.

The angry music returns.  Oh, damn…


The Rundown

What Kind Of Cheese Is It?

WHITE CHEDDAR JALAPENO.

It’s stark, it’s sharp, and it’s got bite… but it’s also deliciously smooth.


Pairs Well With...

JIM BEAM DEVIL'S CUT.

Sharp, quality stuff that tastes like anger.


“You’ve gotta admit: revenge seems like a cheap trick for you.”


The production team’s synopsis makes it seem so simple.  “After being released from prison, Alice hunts down the person who put her there.  Her sister.”  It sounds like something you’ve seen a hundred times before… but it’s not.  Leave your expectations at the door, people, because this is so much better.

There are revenge movies, and there are revenge movies.  Ten Years Later definitely lives in the latter – much more intense – category.

Start with the contained hurricane of Wonder Russell’s performance.  The very first shot is one of her staring into the camera, unblinking, unmoving save for breath… and it is scary.  She’s not making an angry face or baring her teeth or anything of the sort; just a slight tightening of the muscles above her eyes, a subtle set to her lips that’s just a millimeter from neutral and a mile toward hatred.  Ratchet to the next level as her character leaves prison, walking down the sidewalk with a look that’s calm even as it’s chilling enough to make a gangster cross the street; call it breezy evil.  Now less subtle; she can’t scrub the pain and the hatred away… and then, she doesn’t want to.  She literally attacks her lunch – how dare that tomato exist in her sandwich – and yet, for all the intensity, she’s so damn calm.  A minute and a half in, you’re not just waiting for her character to explode in a rage; you want her to, just to release your own tension.  But she won’t give you that satisfaction.  Wonder Russell is in control here, and she’ll remain so for the next twelve minutes of your life.

You don’t have to like her character, but Russell will make you respect her.  And by the time the credits roll, you will have a deep respect for the talents of Wonder Russell herself.  Those who weren’t already in the know may be surprised when they look at her other work to discover that this is her first psycho; those coming in familiar will have proof of what they must surely have suspected already: there are no limits to what this outstanding actor can do.

And then, Ten Years Later kicks it up another notch.

For the first two and half minutes of the film, Wonder Russell’s dark performance is backed up by the controlled anger of music by Eric Goetz (that carries some major overtones of Trent Reznor).  Not only does the music serve as a perfect companion to Russell’s wordless intensity, but it’s equally effective for its absence the moment the focus shifts to our other focus character, Katie.  First it magnified the hatred; then its disappearance magnifies the sense of foreboding as the audience waits for what must surely come next.  Excellent stuff.

Which brings us to Katie.

If Wonder Russell’s darkness carries with it a sense of dread and human poison, Lisa Coronado’s performance provides the audience with a sense of normalcy that’s in such complete opposition to what was on the screen just seconds ago that it’s almost more disturbing.  She’s sweetness and safety and everyday life and the friend you just talked to a few hours ago and please just run away from the car.  Every good suspense film hopes the audience will recognize something of themselves in the inevitable victim; Coronado effortlessly (only not; it just looks effortless thanks to something we call talent) draws the viewer into the scene as said viewer’s surrogate.  She is us, we are going to pay when the angry music starts up again, and hot damn that is exactly how these movies are supposed to play even though so few of them actually do.

And then the music’s back for just a few seconds, until…

Filmmakers Kris and Lindy Boustedt do lots of things with this story and these characters that most audiences will not expect.

I won’t tell you what they are, because I want you to watch Ten Years Later and see for yourself.  I will say that Katie’s character isn’t quite who you thought she was at the start, and that dark heartstopper Annie has more humanity to her than one might have supposed… though the evidence of that does nothing to take away from the horror.  If anything, it only amplifies that ending you don’t see coming that I am definitely not going to spoil for you.

It would have been so easy to write Ten Years Later as a standard bit of revenge/suspense that connected all the standard dots and featured all the standard twists, but there’s nothing easy about the way this movie was made.  Behind the scenes, this is all about brave choices: the little things that take the story to the next level.  Twist the plot left instead of right.  Cast one of the warmest actors you can find as the blood chilling villain.  Put it out there for the entire world to see for free.

Good show, Kris and Lindy Boustedt.  (And great work by cinematographer Jonathan Houser, lest I forget to mention.)

Word is that there’s more to the story.  I, for one, can’t wait to see it.  In the meantime, though, I definitely encourage you to take the time to watch this one.

Bottom line, Ten Years Later is an intense thirteen and a half minutes of “this is so damn good!”

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- Reviewed by Ziggy Berkeley, October, 2013

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