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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Review: Indie Action Horror LYCO Teeters On Monotony, Maintains With Spells Of Substance


Independent filmmaker Franklin Correa, like most in his field, is a work in progress. That said, his latest in upscaling comes with the slightly more polished effort from Pantero Productions with the new movie, Lyco, a slight switch in gears for the Flash Drive and Mistaken helmer keen on venturing into John Carpenter and Stephen King territory just a tad.

Granted, there are stumbles along the way in this small scale endeavor by the local New Jersey-based martial artist and instructor who also serves a few good moments of fight action for what it's worth. The acting often tows the line between balancing itself on a meandering script while trying to deliver a sense of naturality - it works in some moments while in others, you're left checking the time.

The story suffers as a result of all this, while the concept itself brings something truly interesting and viable: Correa and co-star Terrance Epps play Bobby and Darius, two couriers hired to transport a mysterious, elephant-shaped relic for two women privy to its origins, only to set off a series of events that escalate into the fight for their lives with an elusive voodoo serial killer in pursuit of the artifact.

Some of the performances in the film were ample enough to keep the pacing going. Jorge Valentin brings a mild flair of comedy from time to time in the role of Chucho with actress Marilyn Tolentino in the role of Shelly.  Characters Bobby and Sandra - the latter played by Greta Quispe - warm up adequately on camera in a few poignant moments of their own.

Miguelina Olivares, someone you can spot freequently on YouTube in screenfighting form, stands out awesomely as one other of the film's antagonists in the role of Tavares, a tomboy who doesn't bat an eyelash about defining what she really loves, and in the most...well...breakneck way you might imagine. Hers is one just two out of three of the film's fight scenes that work in the film and mainly as most of the cinematography remains steady with the action visible.

The rest of the film measures pretty exasperating in its slow burn affair: A tigher exposition may have been a better idea for the film's opening sequences while the film's performances even if it may have taken a bit off the film's current runtime of one hour and twenty-two minutes. With that in mind, more solid scriptinf and lensing would have benefitted the film's dialogue scenes greatly in a way that wouldn't necessarily feel as if the director was trying to bide the time.

Marc Fratto's robust opening and closing score, characteristic of the film's dark, occult tone, certainly garners its appeal. Accompanied by a sharper color grade and composition, the film mainly sells on suspense and intrigue with just a handful of violence and gore, topped with key moments where a splash of visual effects help amplify the film's supernatural millieu founded on the film's brooding title villain, played by Macquell James.

The film ends subtly with a dose of uncertainty, as one suspects most films of its kind does. Correa's ability to tell a story continues to stand strong in Lyco whereas conceiving its more thrilling and sustaining elements is something of a seperate bid. Nevertheless, it's an earnest effort that offers indie and horror cinephiles something sexy and ambitious for its targeted niche.

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