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DVD Review: Static


This year's horror features have mostly been sub-standard releases (with the odd exception e.g. Lords of Salem, The Conjuring), however, Todd Levin's Static serves as a stellar reminder that there are still filmmakers capable of crafting some classy scares without resulting to the use of lashings of gore.

Static follows writer Jonathan Dade (Milo Ventimiglia) and his wife Addie (Sarah Shahi) who quietly grief the loss of their child in their secluded home. However, the arrival of a hysterical young woman (Sara Paxton) chased by a group of masked men forces the young couple into a fight for survival.

Levin's feature is a slow-building one, captured with a quiet yet remarkably unsettling atmosphere (similar to 2008's The Strangers). Whilst the opening sets up this underlying unease in the couple's woodland-surrounded house, Gabriel Cowan's screenplay also establishes a sense of depth and humanity within the protagonists: we see Jonathan thrown off his work and  Addie look for purpose as a result of their child's death. Therefore when the tension does escalate and the couple are threatened there is a genuine empathy and support for these characters.

The arrival of Paxton's character really takes the tension up a notch and thrusts Static into full gear. The actress plays the stranger with a sense of mysteriousness which could be construed as something more sinister as we see her skulk round the couples' home. Levin has a real knack for building suspense - perfectly showcased in one sequence which sees Jonathan venture out of the house to investigate the stranger's damaged car. As the film turns home-invasion thriller Levin fills Static with a variety of jumps and scares, avoiding the clichés traditionally found in these features.

Static's narrative is also filled with little titbits that allude to the film's twist ending - such as the couple finding security equipment in their home. These suggestions keep Static refreshing and unexpected, separating it from run-of-the-mill home invasion horrors. This is also helped by some terrific performances from the likes of  Milo Ventimiglia, who is a captivating lead, conveying a convincing sense of emotion  within the character and never resorting to overplaying things. Shahi is an equally powerful screen presence, whilst Paxton is a perfect addition to the mumblecore style of Static.

Static is an intelligent and well-crafted horror. It's quiet atmosphere and masterful tension, alongside some stellar performances ensure that it is one of the strongest horrors of the year.

Rating: 4/5

Originally posted on Cinehouse UK
Static is available to buy now.
Todd Levin 8289119241753672041
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