What happens when the search engine
a man designs answers "yes" to the question "is the government of the
United States evil?"
Written By: Bennett Fisher
Directed By: Mark Schwab
The first ten or so minutes of "SERP" was just about to elapse when I realized how much I was not going to like this movie. Could have been the black and white, could have been the less than stellar audio, or it could have simply just not been my style. I knew however that I had to watch the entire film and braced myself to do-so. Funny thing happened as the flick progressed. I found myself at first thinking about how I'd seen worse, then, later on I was thinking that "SERP" actually wasn't that bad. For all the qualities I tend to dislike in movies, and in this one in particular, I started noticing qualities that I actually did like and even appreciate. As the final segment played out I realized this wasn't a bad film at all. Maybe not the next Oscar winner, but by no means below the average mark. For a film that embodies most of what I don't like about indie cinema, Bennett Fisher actually penned an interesting story and Mark Schwab pulled a rabbit out of his hat when directing. All in all, although a little different, "SERP" did manage to hold my attention and was nowhere near the bad movie I expected it to be.
The technicalities presented in "SERP" are one of the main reasons I was off to a jittery start. First off, the B&W cut of the film. I completely understand some peoples need to change their project over to black and white. Sometimes, the colors are just so off-the-wall it's just easier. What I can't understand about this title however, is why the color choice? There's not a whole lot of locations, so the color probably would have been fine with minimal tweaking. I can only assume the director wanted it this way and as I wrote above, still wonder why. The editing itself was fairly well done for this particular style and I have no real complaints on that front... but the audio is another story. The echoing from the empty rooms really made "SERP" hard to listen to, until your ears adjusted. A few blankets, or something, thrown on the floor would have solved a lot of the problem. Live and learn right? The one area this flick did really well was the acting... for the most part. I found the portrayals sometimes funny (intentionally I would assume) and sometimes downright creepy. No matter your acting preference, these guys did a great job at entertaining. In a flick that really only relies on one room, the fact the cast manages to hold your attention is amazing. Great job guys!
In my humble opinion, "SERP" should have been trimmed down to a short film. The content is good and interesting, the talent has... talent, and entertainment value does exist. It's just that this is a l o n g indie film that centralizes on one room... and is in black and white. As a short this could have worked great! But clocking in at around 90 minutes just makes it really hard to keep focused on what's happening. Still though, "SERP" is watchable and does contain moments of greatness. Give it a shot and you just may come out a believer. Next up? Asking my search engine how I can refrain from making so many typo's.
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