Posted: 12/06/2007


Grayson Arms


by Del Harvey

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This DVD release is coming out now thanks to the sudden popularity of its female lead, Jennifer Carpenter, better known as Dexter’s sister Deb on the Showtime series named after the forensics officer who is also a serial killer.

The story goes like this: When residents of a rent-controlled apartment building begin to die off after a new landlord appears on the scene, the authorities immediately finger the new owner, Amanda Winters, as the prime suspect. But even though Amanda’s made no bones about wanting the old, lower-paying tenants gone, would she really resort to murder?

Also starring in the film are Judd Nelson, Michael Lerner, and Stacey Dash. The film has been categorized as a horror thriller. While it certainly is not strictly a horror film, it does fit well into the category of thriller. The best thing about this little film really is in watching how Ms. Carpenter handles a lead role—well, two leading roles, to be honest. She gets to play identical twins, and she does a great job. She is a bit raw, as are all young actors, but she does a great job with a demanding role. It’s not the kind of performance most actors would write home about, and certainly nothing which would earn her an award. But for anyone who enjoys watching Ms. Carpenter on Dexter, the film is worth watching at very least for this.

I should warn you, however, that the film feels as though it originally was intended to be a short, perhaps running less than a full hour. There are additions to the script which adequately pad out the time and which fit logically into the overall story, but—as with most amateur productions—there is a definite sense that the writers and filmmakers could have done better. But this is a straight to DVD effort, so we know that we aren’t going to be getting anything Oscar-worthy in the bargain.

So, if you’re a fan of any of these actors, and certainly of Ms. Carpenter’s, I recommend watching it. As a low budget, direct to DVD thriller, it’s not bad. There are worse ways of spending 90 minutes of your day.

Del Harvey is a film teacher, filmmaker, and the founder of Film Monthly. He lives in Chicago.

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