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Turnabout Movie Review

Written by Joanna K. Neilson

Released by TMAA

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Written and directed by E.B. Hughes
2016, 90 minutes, Not Yet Rated
DVD released on 3rd March 2020

Starring:
George Katt as Billy Cain
Waylon Payne as Perry Hayes
Peter Greene as Leo
Sayra Player as Candy
Rosebud Baker as Sherri
Judy Jerome as Lisa Hayes

Review:

Bored middle-class marrieds Perry and Lisa are stuck in something of a rut, so when Perry’s long-lost high-school bud, Billy, calls for help in the middle of the night - apparently in very dire straits - Perry greatly surprises his wife by driving out to rescue him.

We learn that Perry hasn’t seen Billy in a very long time. That was probably for the best. Billy quickly starts to shake up Perry’s apparently perfect life, on purpose or otherwise. The guy attracts trouble wherever he goes and hangs out with some severely sketchy people. Sketchiest among these is the terrifying (Peter Green, AKA ‘Zed’ from Pulp Fiction). While constantly claiming he should be going home, ‘good guy’ Perry gets drawn deeper into an underworld of drugs, hookers and partying - and comes face to face with his own vicious inner demons.

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As the night spirals ever-more out of control, Perry’s moral fibre gets more and more severely tested, and we begin to wonder exactly how far he’s going to go, and if he’ll ever come back to his senses.

But when the shit hits the fan, just how far would you go to help an old friend?

With its escalating stakes, Turnabout is a pleasingly twisted story, and while the long conversations between the two old friends about their life choices aren’t quite as meaningful as it seems to think, it does deliver a great sense of ever-impending doom. While this isn’t a horror film in the strictest sense, it’s a decent slice of crime exploitation - and this really is the night from hell - Perry digs himself ever-deeper, while Billy’s lifestyle is certainly sordid enough to qualify as a nightmare. Overall, this is a very solidly made thriller with a few great performances. It has a decent story and it's all nicely rounded off, too.

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Whether you ultimately feel any sympathy for either of these two men is a different story. No one comes out of this flick with much grace or humanity. I would happily watch the second half of the story, as it does end quite near to a cliff, though thankfully not right on the edge of one - personally I think there’s some potential for a followup. There’s definitely a satisfying ending here, but it would make an interesting longer film too. At the moment, it’s still a great piece of work - though whether you have a good time with it really depends on how you identify with what the men have to lose - and gain - from their callousness. You have to wonder, would you answer that desperate call in the middle of the night? Or stay safe in bed, with all your private miseries, and sensibly leave the toxic Billy in the distant past, where he very probably belongs.

Grades:

Movie: 2.5 Star Rating Cover
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About The Author
Joanna K. Neilson
Staff Reviewer
Favourite film ever watched is Alien (1979), but usually prefers to ingest her horror with a dollop of comedy relief…though the dusty charm of The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1971) and the black and white lure of Psycho (1960) continues to draw her in. Found Baskin weirdly hilarious. Finds Finding Nemo godawful. Adores H.P. Lovecraft and has sort-of pilgrimed to his grave in Providence - very tidy. Very long walk. Half-expected cats and cultists to be set up all around it but sadly, just signs saying ‘no photos’ in the cemetery.
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