I have to hand it to the folks at Brain Damage Films: they aren’t afraid to take chances, particularly when it comes to low-budget horror films. With that being said, I have to confess that many of the company’s films I’ve watched (or started to watch) have been terrible. In fact, I’ve shut many of them off after only a short while. But even so, they have put out several nice gems as well, one of which was one of the best horror films I saw last year (click here to read my review of BLOOD PUNCH).
Unfortunately, the company also has a knack for finding obscure in-between films that are neither great nor terrible. Today’s title, THE CONDUIT, is one of these very films. While THE CONDUIT has a semi-interesting premise, the execution lacks a bit, and the story itself comes off as weak in parts. But the ending hammered the final nail in the coffin for me, and as a result, I did not enjoy the film as a whole.
If you are not familiar with THE CONDUIT, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Brain Damage Films:
Wounded by a recent divorce and haunted by a tragic event in his childhood, Eddie returns to his home town hoping to pick up the pieces of his broken life. There he meets Amy, a mysterious and beautiful young woman with an undeniable allure. Eddie falls for Amy, easing his personal pain with her love-and lust. Something dark and sinister lurks in Amy’s past- Amy is a conduit, a channel for an evil that she most spread to others through attraction. Will her love save Eddie, or will it take him to darker places?
Brain Damage is also to be commended for their great cover artwork. While the films don’t always match the quality of their covers, the movies look great on a shelf regardless.
THE CONDUIT is shot fairly well, however the image quality lacks onscreen when the scenes get dark. I had a hard time making out certain things due to the grainy nature of the picture, so this was a frequent source of aggravation. The sound quality is decent enough, although I have to admit a couple of whispered lines are hard to pick up.
The acting is mediocre, but I will admit nobody gives a downright terrible performance. Monica Engesser does a decent job as Amy, however her co-star Wes Martinez, who portrays Eddie, displays no discernable emotion onscreen whatsoever. This leads to a lackluster performance that almost put me to sleep.
As mentioned above, the plot of THE CONDUIT has potential. The story starts off a bit slow, but things start to pick up about 40 minutes in. Unfortunately, nothing is wrapped up as the ending draws near, and the abrupt finale leaves the viewer unsatisfied and asking many questions. For this reason, I can only give the film three out of five stars.
THE CONDUIT is nothing to write home about, but it doesn’t outright suck, either. If you’re looking for a middle-of-the-road feature, then this is the film for you. It is available now on DVD and VOD.