FM Andy (2015) Review

FM-Andy CoverFM Andy (2015)

Director: Jamie Carswell

Starring: Todd Caryl, Nancy Gray, Eve Wylden

Rare Species Productions

‘Get Out of Your Head’

First-time film director Jamie Carswell weaves a psychological tale of guilt and madness with FM Andy. Andy (Todd Caryl), the ever-anxious and brooding main character, is still attempting to deal with a previous accident when the girl next door, Grace (Nancy Gray), complicates everything with her romantic advances. As Andy attempts to find solid footing while his mind continuously taunts every decision he makes, his FM radio begins to speak.

The film follows in the framework of other psychological chillers, such as Frailty, Jacob’s Ladder, or The Shining, by gradually building character development and back story through snippets of memory and a sense of permeating discomfort. Seemingly normal interactions are intensified by Andy’s unease, and, although his instability pokes through the harmless veneer, viewers are given a glimpse of things to come early in the story. However, due to solid writing and pacing, I found myself hoping for Andy to find a bit of clarity all the way to the bitter end.

FM Andy NurseNancy Gray creates love interest Grace with equal parts innocence and playful seductress. This character fits well in Andy’s world, forcing him to deal with the concept of a new relationship all the while attempting to come to terms with his past. In contrast, the aforementioned FM radio plays out like an alter ego, mocking and provoking Andy similar to Norman Bates’ mother or Mr. Scratch from survival horror game Alan Wake, giving FM Andy’s uneventful world a much needed catalyst.

Adding to the mix is a competent sound score, switching from upbeat, radio friendly tunes to a much more sinister mix of creepy ambience. What makes the music work is its timing, not only during fitting scenes, but also in keeping in step with the flow of Andy’s unraveling. The voice acting from Robert Drogo as The Radio is also on par with the film, offering both comedic relief and smug interjection, and gives dimension to an otherwise limited tale.

As a final nod to other films in the subgenre, FM Andy does not rely on special effects to keep it afloat, but instead opts to use brief moments of practical gore or secondary means to impress the darker undercurrent upon its audience. Considering the psychological focus of the film, this works much better than full out brutality. Writer/director Jamie Carswell seems to be a fan of leaving more to the imagination, a respectful homage to thrillers from the 70’s and 80’s. One scene in particular was enough to illicit a grimace on this reviewer’s face, but was relevant to our poor Andy’s plight and only added to the already offbeat tale.

FM Andy The RadioIt is refreshing to see a film that wears its influences on its sleeve and still twists the familiar with a bit of creative expression. FM Andy does not tread where no one has gone before, but offers a new perspective on the inner workings of the human psyche. Both tragic and interesting, FM Andy is a fun and engaging addition to any collection.

8/10

‘FM Andy’ a new feature from Jamie Carswell – an Exclusive Look

fmandy-poster2FM Andy, an Exclusive Look

Spring is here, which means it’s time to wake up and smell the rotting flesh as Rare Species Productions’ new psychological thriller, FM Andy, is ready for your eyes. This feature length film gives you witness to the story of Andy, a mentally fragile man numb to his former self after tragic events involving his wife and son. That is, until his radio begins to speak to him, bringing his sanity into question and igniting his past fears that no longer want to be buried.

“After a successful private screening we’re thrilled to give distributors and media the chills our audience received as we turned Andy’s nightmares into theirs,” says Jamie Carswell, Director, FM Andy & Rare Species Productions. “This is our first feature film and the look and feel of this classic psycho thriller is a testament to the hard work and dedication our team put into filming. The way it has translated from page to screen has made the hairs on the back of our necks stand up and we’re excited to bring that feel to a larger audience.”

Showcasing a number of rising talents, newcomer Todd Caryl is cast as Andy and makes his debut in feature films alongside actress Vanessa Lai, best known for her roles in Nurse 3D and HBO’s Lingerie. FM Andy also marks the first feature film of director Jamie Carswell whose history in horror film production includes several short films. In this feature, Carswell harkens back to latter day horror weaving practical effects into unnerving storytelling, ultimately creating a disturbing nightmare for the mind.

fmandy-image4-nurseSynopsis

Living alone in an old bachelor apartment Andy lives life like clockwork; eat, sleep, work, a comfortable monotony with no end in sight. Everything changes with a knock on his door, his neighbour, Grace, a young woman with a passion to embrace life even at its lowest. As the two begin to see one another Andy’s life begins to open, he begins to bury his past and alter his perspectives toward the positive – but within every light lay darkness – Andy’s radio is beginning to speak to him bringing into question Andy’s own sanity and making the present fear the past that doesn’t want to stay buried.

About Rare Species Productions:
Rare Species Productions is a Greater Toronto Area based company versed in both film, television and web based media. From series and commercials to music videos and short films, FM Andy marks the company’s first venture into feature films. For more information on Rare Species Productions past works or FM Andy visit: www.rarespeciesproductions.com .

IMDB – http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1878933/

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