Coming to DVD from creative mind of writer/director Michael Z. Wechsler and Entertainment One is a psychological thriller that reaches into ALTERED MINDS.
Dr. Nathaniel Shellner (Judd Hirsch) is a Nobel Prize winning psychiatrist who now at 75 years of age is facing death because of a serious illness. Bringing his family together for quality time is the goal of the weekend. Wife Lillian Caroline Lagerfelt) is happy to have her children home even though 37 year-old Tommy (Ryan O'Nan) seems to be showing signs of mental illness.
Elder son Leonard (Joseph Taylor) is also a psychiatrist who is upset by Tommy's behavior. Along with siblings Julie (Jaime Newman) and Harry (C.S. Lee), they aren't quite sure what to do. Knowing they don't want their father upset anymore than he needs to be, everyone takes a turn trying to keep Tommy calm.
But that isn't going to work because Tommy wants answers from his father believing that the mental issues comes from psychological experiments done when they were kids. Nathaniel repeats time after time that it just isn't true and that Tommy's problems are all in his head, literally. Wanting to believe, Tommy has moments where he wants to share time with dad until disturbing images flash and the lashing out begins again.
Julie and Harry, at first, constantly tell Tommy to stop. Then, out of no where, both Harry and Julie start remembering things about the family home that begin to freak them out. With each moment that passes, family secrets emerge, memories become clearer and it is time to tell the truth no matter what the cost.
O'Nan as Tommy makes sure this characters feelings and suspicions are known by all from the moment he appears on screen. Displaying an air of serious creepiness, I was captivated every time he went on a rant. Piecing together what may or may not be
true in the things Tommy believes becomes as serious as a game of Jenga! Awesomely done.
Hirsch as Dr. Shellner is living the end of his life with a cargo container full of secrets and not just family kind. Trying to keep the family calm isn't an easy task as each of them begins to question their own memories. Personally I am just happy to see Hirsch again and yes this is an awesome role for him to take on.
Taylor as eldest son Leonard has his own personal issues feeling as if his parents care more about his younger siblings than they ever did him. Tired of Tommy's issues and wanting to spend time with his father, Leonard isn't about to put up with more crap than he has too. Taylor gives his character a little bit of "feel bad for me" but the tables do have a way of turning when the truth comes out.
Newman as Julie is the middle kid, as it were, and sees everyone's issue until her own come into play. She wants to spend time with her ailing father without the family drama and still be supportive of her troubled brother Tommy. When a photograph calls into question her own memories, she wants to know more. Lee as Harry seems the quiet son, but as the memories rattle him, Harry almost become a casualty of the fears they share.
Lagerfelt as Lillian is a mother who just wants her family to get along, especially with the impending death of her husband. As each of the kids shares what they remember, Mom shows her own doubts as to what her husband could possibly have done to the children to cause all of this to happen.
Other cast include Jake Miller as Sasha, Lily Pilblad as Sylvia, Hayden Signoretti as Young Tommy, Isaac Solstein as Young Harry, Dana Konner as Young Julie, Marilyn Chris as Elizabeth Robbins, and Dennis Flanagan as Sgt. Joseph Robbins.
Entertainment One has more than 4,500 hours of programming and growing. From script development to global distribution, Entertainment One creates and distributes the compelling content that everyone wants to watch. For more of what they have to offer please visit www.entertainmentone.com.
TUBS OF POPCORN: I give ALTERED MINDS four tubs of popcorn out of five. Oh my goodness where to begin! This film is a prime example of how hard it can be to write a review sometimes. The story is twisted, full of turns, and takes the viewer on a family ride of dysfunction and disturbing secrets. The cast does such a fantastic job at keeping the flow in such a way that when the story abruptly turned it rattled me!
The cinematography gives the film a fantastic bit of creepiness as well. I love when a cast is basically 'house bound' for a film adding that caged-animal feeling from start to finish. There isn't a moment I don't like about this film and highly recommend ALTERED MINDS to those who absolutely love a thriller with a jaw dropping story and an ending that is nothing short of shocking.
Coming in at 93 minutes, ALTERED MINDS shows how a good film can be made for about a million dollars when the story is well done, the director knows his vision and takes away all the cgi garbage and loud distractions, and knows who can play the roles.
The DVD includes some pretty cool bonus features with Deleted Theatrical Scenes, Two Audio Commentary tracks with director Wechsler and Composer Edmund Choi who shares anecdotes from the shoot and postproduction as well as different aspect of the filmmaking process, Director Video Logs from pre-production and table reads through every shooting day and post production. ALTERED MINDS is currently available for download on iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, YouTube, Vudu, Xbox and Playstation.
In the end - if a man fails his family he fails life!
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