Jarrod Crooks as Raven James
Jeffrey Glenn as Tom Geideman
Independent horror must often rely on creativity and film-making talent to get over the “lack of budget” hump. The Medium is an excellent example of this in action. The length is a bit of an issue, but I’ll talk about that in a minute.
First, the story. A young man, Raven James (Jarrod Crooks) is walking down the street when he suddenly stops mid-stride and stares into the window of a run-down movie theater. Inexplicably drawn to the window, Raven reaches out and has a disjointed vision of spiritual unrest. His very boisterous and rude female companion jolts Raven out of his trance and he continues on his way.
Later Raven cons his way into the theater under the pretense of purchasing some old chairs. The theater owner, Tom (Jeffrey Glenn) quickly surmises, however, that chairs are the last thing on Raven’s mind. Raven, you see, is a Medium. He has sensed something within the theater, and knows that Tom is somehow involved.
What follows is a series of intense exchanges between Raven, Tom and the spirit of a highly distressed hauntress. Fears are realized, pasts revealed and the mysteries that have plagued Tom all of his life begin to show clarity. Oh, and Tom goes on a murder rampage.
The Medium does an excellent job in many areas, and needs further development in others.
The story of The Medium is clean and unfolds in a way that I really love – the details of the characters and their inner struggles are communicated off-handedly without anyone having to stop and pointedly explain. That is one quality of a good film that many independents seem to falter on. The Medium is an exception.
The acting of Jarrod Crooks in the lead role is strong and convincing. Jeffrey Glenn, on the other hand, could probably use a few courses in The Method. He wasn’t bad mind you, and seemed very well cast as the aggressive and troubled theater owner, but there was nothing subtle about his performance – he pretty much ranted and raved and yelled and acted “aggressive” the whole time. Still, it worked for me.
The location used was perfect. An actual old building, complete with stone basement, was the setting for The Medium. No sound-stage could have created such a perfect mood.
Now about the length. 20 minutes was plenty of time to set the stage and provide intensity, depth and emotion. My heart was pounding hard through a good portion of The Medium and I was glued to the screen. Then it just, ended. It was a bit like a sneeze that never materialized.
What I would have liked to have seen is Raven’s next supernatural adventure. Perhaps all of the “background” provided in what exists now of The Medium is the perfect set-up for Raven’s confrontation with a spirit (or group of spirits) that may just be too much for him. While we’re at it, how about a bit of background as to why Raven puts himself into these dangerous situations in the first place.
Maybe someone close to Raven, like that obnoxious woman in the beginning, could be the intended victim of ghostly mayhem. Maybe if we’re lucky they will whisk her away to “the light”.
I love The Medium…I just don’t feel like it’s finished. Of course, the flick can be had for 5 bucks from the Makeshift Films website, and for 5 bucks you really should see it. In fact, I think that a lot of aspiring Independent Horror film makers should see it also…and learn.