Directed by: Drew Hall
Starring: Clayne Crawford, Ethan Embry, Mykelti Williamson, Gary Grubbs, Chelsea Bruland
Atlanta, 1999: Special Agent Ben Walls is drafted in on his day off to assist local police after a bomb is detonated in the downtown area. However, there is a second device planted nearby, and Ben is caught in the explosion. Awaking in hospital, Ben tries to piece together what occurred prior to the explosion, but it soon becomes apparent that the bomber, named Daniel, is also in the hospital and that he has a shocking link to Ben and his deceased parents…
It has been a year since I first saw Convergence – after striking up a raport with director Drew Hall, I was fortunate enough to be the first person not related to the film’s production to actually see it. I rated the film very highly at the time, giving it a 9 out of 10 score on the previous Flash Bang website. Now, after numerous showings at film festivals in the US, Korea and the UK, Convergence has finally been released for home media. So, having taken a long step back from the film, how do I rate it now?
Well, I’m happy to report that Convergence still stands up, for the most part. In fact, on second viewing the metaphysical elements of the story become more prominent. On first viewing, you’re having to unpack information and try to fit it with what’s already occurred. Second time around, that mental heavy lifting isn’t necessary and you can concentrate on the details more, such as the erratic, labyrinthine layout of the hospital. You can also slot in the backstory of Ben’s parents, and their relationship with Daniel, and see how all of that feeds into Ben’s actions later.
Director Drew Hall had already proven that he understood action with his previous film, Sons of Liberty (released as C.T.U Special Ops in the UK), and delivers a number of exciting and visceral scenes here, cleanly shot and edited to showcase the actors and the action. The film has some very good special fx work, a mix of some practical prosthetics (a brutal stabbing and someone having their tongue removed) and some CGI work. There is some great production design too, from the impromptu altar to the individual appearance of each of Daniel’s new converts.
There is one tiny fly in the ointment though, and its something I only picked up upon second viewing, is that every time Ben gets hit, or hurt, he has a soft-focus flash-back to his wife and daughter. I can see what the film is aiming for here, but honestly these little moments hurt the momentum of the story. It’s a minor niggle but I’d be remiss if I didn’t point it out.
If you’re a fan of horror and sci-fi films, it won’t take you long to realise one of the film’s big plot points. There have been plenty of films whereby a group of strangers find themselves in a near-deserted location (The Last Seven and Drifter are two which come to mind), so you might get a sneaky suspicion as to where the story is headed. However, if you do find yourself in this position, don’t get cocky because there is much more going on than you might realise. In fact, the film spells that element out to you at the halfway point. If that was all that was going on, with the added bonus of Daniel and his newly converted cohorts roaming the corridors, then Convergence would still be an outstanding piece of genre film-making. But then, the script does something…wonderful. It transcends expectations.
After two viewings a year apart, I can confidently state that Convergence is a great example of genre film-making and is something that is truly unique and original. Highly Recommended.
9 out of 10 (MikeOutWest)