I watched the Trailer for The Poisoning and was intrigued. However, the Trailer doesn’t give you a balanced impression of what this film is actually about, which is very miss-leading. Be mindful, The Poisoning is not another experience like The Hitcher (1986), though it is a road movie.
The camera direction and acting during the opening romantic scenes is exceptional. I was immediately hooked by the script, to the point I thought I was witnessing perfect improvisation. The two actors at the start, Matt Mercer and Joanna Sotomura have an on- screen chemistry that is so convincing, they could have carried the whole film themselves. Matt’s travelling companion Riley, played by Kalan Ray, has a similar look to Matt Mercer and unfortunately both actors have beards, which was a little confusing at times. Before the first filming day I would have suggested one of them to be clean shaven.
During the car journey on-screen, a wonderful classic film location is visited, which is a pleasant surprise. The actual road sequences are great to look at, but there needed to be less of them. The seemingly long driving sequences later removed me from the flow of the story. I did get frustrated watching this film go by at the same tone, remaining at one steady level for the first 40 minutes. Onto a more positive observation, I liked the way Matt Mercer’s character was so polite in resolving tensions. There were several moments I wanted to jump into the film and punch the annoying character ‘Chaps’ repeatedly in the face.
Many of you will like this production and some will not have the patience for it, because it’s a slow burn. However, I’ll explain why I appreciate it; First off it was made for a very low budget – I came across the figure of $10,000, which is some achievement. Secondly, As far as I’m aware this film The Poisoning (2013) is Zachary Eglinton’s first major feature film he’s directed. He took some risks and made two plot decisions that I don’t agree with, but it’s clear that he has a directing style, a creative eye that indicates that he knows how to get the best from his actors.
What sets Zachary apart from other directors is that he has the ability to engage you deeper in connecting with characters of a story, OK it’s also down to the actors, but despite my negative thoughts regarding the plot of The Poisoning, it has remained on my mind mainly because of the interaction between the characters.
You’ll only get a few moments of violence and simmering threat, though I would have expected a generous addition of horrific and disturbing like the Trailer teased. The music score, especially when bad thing happen, is very effective enhancing the films vibe. For a first feature film production, my instinct is to congratulate Zachary for an incredible effort. He stands tall professionally and has punched above my expectations. I also watched Zachary Eglinton’s previous short film Ryann The Beginning (2010) and really enjoyed it.