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Intermedio

Directed by Andy Lauer

Written by Kraig X. Wenman

Starring Edward Furlong, Steve Railsback, Cerina Vincent, Amber Benson

Produced by David Michael Latt, David Rimawi, Sherri Strain

Rated R

82 minutes

NOTE: This is an ADVANCE COPY I’m covering this week. Not even out in stores!

And what I’ve got for you this week is “Intermedio,” a strange little surprise from everybody out at The Asylum, whom I’m convinced is pushing to take over Lions Gate’s former slot as the kings of direct-to-video horror by virtue of sheer prolificacy.

So what we have here is the tale of the children of drug pushers who take their friends, pack up their car, and head out for the desert to get their hands on some fine long green, and I’m not talking about money. At least not in the direct sense.

No, they’re going after weed, and what you have to bear in mind about “Intermedio” is that weed is very, very important to the plot. Weed is actually as important to “Intermedio” as it was to Snoop Dogg’s entire entourage. And frankly, that’s kinda scary.

So anyway, they’re going after the weed that it turns out has a family connection to our two children of drug pushers, and when they get their hands on the chronic, it has a much higher price than they bargained for.

And I’m not talking five to ten in a Riker’s shower stall with a four hundred pound Filipino named Raoul, either.

Now, the biggest thing you’re going to notice about “Intermedio” is the quality of the acting. It’s literally all over the scale. Steve Railsback, fresh off his stint as Ed Gein in the movie of the same name, projects fantastic menace as the enraged old man. And Amber Benson is clearly enjoying herself in the scary / actiony sections she’s given to play.

I’m quite upset with the way things end up for Amber in “Intermedio.” Perhaps her biggest scene involves special effects that look like they were lifted straight out of the wreckage that is any film involving Joe Castro. This saddens and angers me by length. Amber is entirely too good to be subjected to this waste of footage.

Although, as good as she is with the scary stuff and the actiony stuff, any scene featuring Edward Furlong alongside her leaves her obviously nonplussed, and seeming very bored.

Not that I blame her. If I had this little Gary Busey-in-training slobbering all over me I would not look all that excited myself.

Speaking of which, Eddie. Oh dear sweet mercy, Eddie. You look horrible. You sound as horrible as you look. And I hate to kick a man when he’s so obviously down, but your acting has not improved one whit from that sad and sorry performance you turned in back in the last place you were seen alive, “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.”

Eddie’s biggest problem is that, at least here, he’s got one of three basic, selectable moods.

1. Shouting

2. Talking in an incredibly hoarse manner that suggests he’s been shouting quite a bit

3. Panting

There is a LOT of panting going on in “Intermedio.” Trust me.

Everybody else, from Cerina Vincent on down through the rest of the no-name cast, manages to do a fairly average job of things, even though they’re busily struggling through a script that features choice phraseology like:

“Shut your dyke hole”

and

“What the ass?”

I’m beginning to see why there were no subtitles. No one wanted us to be able to confirm on screen that a character actually managed to say “What the ass?” with a straight face.

But we can’t be too harsh on “Intermedio.” For better or for worse, often for worse, this is still the first genuine bona fide ghost story we’ve seen in quite some time.

The ending has its share of twists and surprises, yet still manages to be fairly industry standard for this sort of thing.

The special features include a behind the scenes featurette, audio options, cast and crew commentary, and trailers for “Alien Abduction,” “Rachel’s Attic,” “Way of the Vampire,” “Ghost in the Needle,” and “Intermedio.”

All in all, “Intermedio” is not that impressive of a movie. It has its high points, and its low points, and everything in between. It’s probably worth your time to rent, but don’t rush.

Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.


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