THE TAKING OF DEBORAH LOGAN-United States-90 Minutes 2014
Directed by Adam Robitel
Written by Gavin Heffernan and Adam Robitel
I added a couple of new horror films to my queue at Netflix the other day. They include Mine Games, Mr. Jones and the film reviewed here, The Taking of Deborah Logan. The film is an interesting and intriguing foray into ‘found footage’ filmmaking and alongside Bobcat Goldthwaite’s Willow Creek it may indeed be one of the best films of the genre.
If there is any one thing that I fear about growing older it is that I would be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The loss of my identity, my memories and finally my life frightens me far worse than cancer, heart attack or whatever death has been chosen for me.
Writer-Director Adam Robitel and co-writer Gavin Heffernan weave a tale of a woman’s struggle with Alzheimer’s that takes a hard left into the world of the paranormal. What they fail to realize is that by chronicling her struggle with the disease they’ve made a film that is scary enough without the inclusion of the supernatural.
A film crew documents every waking, and sleeping, hour of Deborah Logan and her daughter Sarah’s life as Deborah’s illness advances at an aggressive rate. At first she displays the normal behavior associated with Alzheimer’s patients-she forgets the name of a bird that she painted. She blames one of the members of the film crew for a missing garden spade that is found in the freezer. As she worsens her behavior cannot be explained away in medical terms. She tears relentlessly at her skin. She levitates from the floor onto the kitchen counter. She utters French, a language she does not know, in a guttural tone. She repeatedly dials a number on a switchboard that is that of a missing and presumed dead child murderer. Is there a malevolent force that is controlling Deborah Logan in her weakened state of mind?
Despite the usual faux pas associated with ‘found footage’ films and an ending that seems tacked on and therefore a letdown The Taking of Deborah Logan is nevertheless an effectively creepy, scary horror film. Robitel and Heffernan know just when to ratchet the suspense at the right time and to the right level. The film doesn’t seem rushed and that’s a good thing. At the risk of sounding like one of those “Won’t you please give generously so we can find a cure?” commercials I will say that at the end of the day The Taking of Deborah Logan might be labeled as a horror film but it is a horror film whose premise is rooted in a disease that is all too real.
Jill Larson also appears in Shutter Island and Manhattanites.
Anne Ramsay also appears in Planet of the Apes (2001) and A League of Their Own.
Michelle Ang also appears in The Tribe and Big Momma’s: Like Father, Like Son.