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[Nightstream ’21] ‘Landlocked’ review: Lo-fi horror sets up great premise

Overflowing with potential.

Welcome to another installment of 31 Days of Halloween! This is our chance to set the mood for the spookiest and scariest month of the year as we focus our attention on horror and Halloween fun. For the month of October we’ll be sharing various pieces of underappreciated scary books, comics, movies, and television to help keep you terrified and entertained all the way up to Halloween.

Listen to the latest episode of the AIPT Movies Podcast!

Landlocked is a quiet film playing at the Nightstream Film Fest that weaves elements of found footage into its narrative. The plot follows two brothers who return to their childhood home that is scheduled to be torn down. When they find a box of home movies, they are able to look at past memories in unexpected ways. But is is a journey they want to take?

There is very little present day dialogue and much of what the audience hears is decades old. This adds a personal quality to Landlocked that is not usually found in this type of sci-fi story. The audience is able to become more invested in the story. Except when they do not. As with any film that chooses to go a more intimate route, Landlocked’s success is contingent on its ability to create interesting characters. This is where the movie fumbles. No time is spent giving depth to anyone. It is up to the home videos to give an idea of what anyone is like. Unfortunately, there is nothing different about them than any other family videos.

[Nightstream '21] 'Landlocked' review: Lo-fi horror sets up great premise

This means Landlocked has to rely on its premise to hold the interest of anyone watching. There is no disputing the film has a neat idea, but it never quite reaches the point of grabbing hold of the viewer. There just is not enough for a person to sink their teeth into. As things progress, the attempts at becoming more intriguing amount to introducing more stuff.

What amounts is a low-fi horror film that is brimming with potential. Landlocked is able to get audiences deeply involved with its story but does not know how to keep them. For all the good that is done, the film ends up being unsatisfying. Along with memories, there is a really good movie to be found in here.

Nightstream takes place virtually from October 7 – October 13

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