Arrow Video Frightfest Digital – Film Review – Blinders (2020)

Andy relocates to L.A. from Dallas to escape the ashes of a 6-year relationship that frazzled in a blaze of infidelity. After a dive bar hook up with the gorgeous and grounded Sam and securing a home tutoring job he seems to be fast-tracking his way back to happiness. However, certifiable rideshare mentalist Roger has different plans for Andy that will set a fire under his new life in a truly chilling campaign of systematic debasement.

The latest in a long line of cautionary tales illustrating the moral bankruptcy of the City of Angels, Tyler Savage’s nervy Neo-noir is a guilty pleasure flashback to the stalky potboilers of the late ’80s. A gloriously twisted bromance with a seriously sadistic rudder, think of a toxic afternoon Lifetime movie showcasing O.J. pissing and mortifying wank shaming.

It may have derivative genre roots but the setup is fresh and so is the visual tone that blends in phone camera footage for some spicy social media satire regarding self-obsession. Played with a straight face, and executed with cold subjectivity, Blinders escalates the tension with a solid flight plan of soapy melodramatics and technology-based emotional terrorism.

Once the inevitable twists start they keep coming thick and fast, and though you may see some coming, others will surprise and that’s what keeps the flick entertaining. Blinders busts an exploitative lung to stay one incredulous step ahead and seal up any plot holes left gasping in its spumescent wake.

Thematically it is on point too, with sideswipes at the surrendering of autonomy to fake personas and culpability in the construction of selfish behaviours. Our reliance on technology and invasive gadgets are shrewdly analysed with Roger able to deconstruct the framework of Andys life with alarming and believable ease.

A lot of the film’s power is derived from the creeping realisation that any of these manipulations could happen to us in our seemingly fortified high-tech safe spaces. Andy is no mug either, he knows to cover his laptop webcam for example, and has the smarts to fight back with countermeasures. Yet Roger covers each base with machiavellian slime and abuses the dominance of anonymity.

Savage does a fine job of pushing the movie’s budget whilst keeping its universe tightly sealed and knows when to sacrifice ambition without compromising scope. It is always good to see a flick that feels like it was the exact libation the filmmakers set out to brew.

A frothy joyride of recompense and Schadenfreude, Blinders will make you think twice about your online chronicles and three times before you next blow off a newly acquired acquaintance.

★★★★

HORROR CHANNEL SCREEN – 4.00 PM – MONDAY 31ST AUGUST

Neo-noir, Horror, Thriller | USA 2020 | 90 mins | Dir. Tyler Savage | With: Christine Ko, Vincent Van Horn, Michael Lee Joplin