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Sequence Break Movie Review

Written by Stuart D. Monroe

US Premiere on Shudder

Sequence Break Poster

Written and directed by Graham Skipper
2017, 80 minutes, Not Rated
Premiered on Shudder on May 24th, 2017 on May 24th, 2018

Starring:
Chase Williamson as Oz
Fabianne Therese as Tess
Lyle Kanouse as Jerry
John Dinan as The Man
Audrey Wasilewski as Audrey

Sequence Break 01 Sequence Break 02

Review:

I like ‘em weird, folks, and I’m partial to there being a moral to the story. I’m even down for a wee bit of genre-bending. After all, there’s a reason the horror community at large has such a soft spot for horror-comedy, there’s a real challenge to mixing up divergent elements into a heady little stew. So, does Sequence Break deliver the goods?

Well, it depends on how open-minded you are to those blends. In this case, we’re talking about horror, sci-fi, & romance. That’s a tall order. There’s no other way to put it.

The story goes a little something like this: reclusive and painfully awkward arcade console repairman Oz is experiencing batshit crazy hallucinations that are a blend of H.P. Lovecraft and David Cronenberg upon playing a new game that shows up at his soon-to-be closed repair shop. Add to this the fact that he is experiencing something else new (and equally unfamiliar) in his life- he’s falling in love with Tess, an equally awkward but stunningly beautifully video game nerd. Throw in the appearance of hobo looney “The Man”, who has a deep history with the game and what it can do, and Oz is in for a life-changing experience.

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Chase Williamson has already carved out something of a genre name for himself with outstanding performances in Beyond the Gates, Victor Crowley, and John Dies at the End. I don’t know if you’d say he’s typecast as the outwardly awkward but strong and clever everyman, but he pulls it off with aplomb and good looks to spare. He’s believable and endearing. Fellow John Dies at the End castmate Fabianne Therese is a natural beauty and fits the role of every geek’s dream girl with ease. This one is essentially a two-actor show with pop-up appearances by the three others in necessary places.

The script is lean and gets to the point, only faltering a smidge in the middle portion of its scant 80 minutes. I felt like it could have almost fleshed out another 10-15 minutes and truly solidified the romance to its benefit, but they still got the job done adequately.

Where Sequence Break really shines is in the special effects and visuals department. Excellent work was put into the living, breathing circuit board shots, and the psychosexual video game console scenes will make you uncomfortable in your pants. The creature effects, if you will, are done mostly in the dark and allow for a lot of room with a smaller budget. It’s slimy, slippery, and has some moments that will leave you wanting a hot shower. The body horror element of the vomiting up of wires and machine parts is superb, especially in Williamson’s capable hands.

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The video game itself is hypnotic in the way that so many of the obscure arcade geometry games are. I honestly couldn’t figure out how in the hell you would’ve played it, but I’m guessing they went with the concept of a game that speaks to you on a deeper level, as it entices you to open the door between realities as opposed to a cartoonish “on the nose” type of game. It kind of bugged me at first, but the more I thought about it the more it made sense.

My real criticism is with the trailer, which presents this as straight horror. It is a straight romance base with heavy horror seasoning and a dash of liquid sci-fi. The overall mix totally works, though.

Shudder has hit on a little gem here that will pick up steam amongst horror aficionados by word of mouth. Back in the day this would have been considered a little video store treasure. Just don’t buy everything the trailer is selling and go into it with an open mind, & you’ll probably enjoy it as much as I did.

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Grades:

Movie: Threeandahalfstars Sequence Break Cover
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About The Author
Stuart Monroe
Staff Writer
Stuart D. Monroe is a man of many faces – father, husband, movie reviewer, published author of short horror, unsuccessful screenwriter (for now), rabid Clemson Tiger, Southern gentleman, and one hell of a model American who goes by the handle "Big Daddy Stu" or "Sir". He's also highly disturbed and wears that fact like a badge of honor. He is a lover of all things horror with a particular taste for the fare of the Italians and the British. He sometimes gets aroused watching the hardcore stuff, but doesn't bother worrying about whether he was a serial killer in a past life as worrying is for the weak. He was raised in the video stores of the '80s and '90s. The movie theater is his cathedral. He worships H.P. Lovecraft, Stephen King, and Clive Barker. When he writes, he listens obsessively to either classical music or the works of Goblin to stimulate the neural pathways. His favorite movie is Dawn of the Dead. His favorite book is IT. His favorite TV show is LOST.
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