Sella Turcica Movie Review

Sella Turcica Movie Review for More Horror
Sella Turcica Review by Mike Pickle

Sella Turcica is a medical term for the depression in the base of the skull that ,when compressed by trauma, can cause color blindness and tumors. This is, seemingly, what happened to Iraq War veteran Brad Roback (portrayed effectively by Damien A. Maruscak). Brad returns home after a mysterious incident in the war that leaves him confined to a wheelchair and looking quite sickly. Both Brad and his family attempt to appear normal, but are anything but. The family ignores the fact that Brad looks like death warmed over and Brad hides in his room popping multiple pills and pulling black slime out of his ears. As the tension in the family grows; so does the severity of Brad's symptoms. Every loud noise triggers splitting headaches, more orifices begin to leak black slime and every inappropriate political rant from his sister's boyfriend threatens to send him over the edge. It's a slow build, but reaches a gory, unnerving and blood-soaked climax where we find out what's really wrong with Brad.

Directed by Fred Vogel for Toetag Pictures, this film takes itself quite seriously. The writing is fairly solid for the most part and the slightly melodramatic music drives the story toward a satisfying ending.

It's kind of a bumpy ride at times though. A story like this needs solid acting or the viewer will be easily distracted. I was distracted quite a few times. Case in point; The Mom. Played by none other than Camille Keaton. The star of the controversial late '70's horror revenge classic "I Spit On Your Grave". She looks so uncomfortable and is so stiff that she drains the energy out of every scene she's in, therefore breaking down everything the writing was trying to build. She wasn't alone though. Like movie Mother like daughter.

Brad's sister Ashley, played by Jade Risser of "Murder Set Pieces", was beautiful, but sounded like she was reading most of the time. In one of many of her uncomfortable scenes; she does an "award winning" dance number for Brad that's extremely awkward.

Her boyfriend Gavyn (Harvey "Freestyle" Daniels) on the other hand, commanded every scene he was in. Besides Damien Maruscak, he is the only other actor with a convincing performance. Sadly, he was given the most annoying character who refuses to leave and insists on making inappropriate jokes and insensitive political commentary to Brad who instantly dislikes him. We're never sure whether Brad dislikes him because he's African-American or because he's dating his sister or both. In a particularly distracting scene; sister Ashley has sex with Gavyn and not once, nor in any other part of the movie, does she kiss him. Seemed pretty strange and added to the distractions.

Though the acting was the film's main downfall; it did manage to be endearing. The character development was good enough to make you care about these characters once the blood started flying. Excellent and fairly realistic gore for such a low budget film and well shot kill scenes almost made up for most of the shortcomings, but not quite. Bad acting can be forgiven in indie Horror if the film is fun and doesn't take itself too seriously. The heavy subject matter and serious writing called for better casting, but it wasn't a total loss. Great gore effects, good climax, and a wonderful ending. Too bad the slow build was almost brought to a screeching halt by most of the cast.

I look forward to seeing what else Director, Fred Vogel comes up with if he gets a better cast. Especially if he continues to use Damien A. Maruscak who is the saving grace of this film.

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