Movie Review: There’s no “Help” for this inert melodrama

Some movies are slow. Some manage a kind of languid torpor. And there’s “Help,” which might be described as “inert.”

It’s a disastrously undramatic debut feature from writer-director and bit “character” in the film Blake Ridder, who is also distributing it.

It takes forever for something — ANYthing — to happen. And when that something does, it’s no help. This corpse just lies there, a trio of attractive actors in an odd “menage” thriller variation filled with what’s meant to be menace, but which is merely a collection of awkward pauses, mostly the product of the most inept editing this side of student cinema competitions.

A pointless prologue lets us see leading lady Grace (Emily Redpath) get dumped by a callous American beau — via phone. Grace, a forensics researcher, decides a pop-in visit on her friend Liv (Sarah Alexandra Marks) is in order. It’s her man Ed’s (Louis James) birthday.

They chat, awkwardly. Grace is imposing, but there’s no being rude. They are, after all, British. She settles in for a weekend into what appears to be a perfectly passable relationship. But thanks to her forensics background, Grace can’t but notice blood stains here and there.

And then there’s the on-the-spectrum oddball neighbor (Ridder) who greeted Grace’s arrival with a warning.

“It’s bad.”

Anyway, Grace sits and they all catch up. At some point, somebody says “I think it’s time you met Polly.” That’s odd, and we’re invited to ponder the idea that Grace is somehow unstuck in time, that the movie’s events are unfolding out of order.

Because, you and I know we saw Grace come into the house when no one answered the door. And she chatted and coo’d at the cute little Jack Russell, whom she called “Polly” by name. They’ve met.

But no. That appears to be simple editing incompetence. And nobody told the writer-director about it to fix it. That’s never a good sign.

It’s kind of all downhill from there, with revelations that will surprise no one, violence and schemes and escalations that are nothing the least bit interesting.

Not to get any meaner than I’ve been up to now, but there’s a reason this dog is self-distributed. And the word “delusional” explains it.

Rating: unrated, sexual situations

Cast: Emily Redpath, Louis James, Sarah Alexandra Marks, Blake Ridder

Credits: Scripted and directed by Blake Ridder. A Ridder release.

Running time: 1:36

About Roger Moore

Movie Critic, formerly with McClatchy-Tribune News Service, Orlando Sentinel, published in Spin Magazine, The World and now published here, Orlando Magazine, Autoweek Magazine
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