Rebound (2013) tells the story of a young woman who finds the love of her life cheating on her. She has a mental break while travelling across the country and encounters hostile strangers and debilitating anxiety along the way. It is the directorial debut of Megan Freels who also wrote the film. It stars Ashely James & Mark Scheibmeir and was produced by Freels and Look At Me Films.
From the film’s Facebook page:
Emotionally tormented after finding her boyfriend in bed with another woman, Claire decides to leave Los Angeles and move home to Chicago. She packs up her life and drives the long journey across country hoping to escape her reality. Along the way she finds another reality that is far worse.
SPOILER ALERT: This review WILL talk openly about plot points of the film. If you want to experience the film as it was intended please watch it before reading this review.
The plot of Rebound is pretty straight forward. Claire (Ashley James) comes home to find her boyfriend Eric (Brett Johnston) banging another woman (Ali Williams). Right away the way this scene is shot you know you’re in for a rather intense ride. From here Claire continues to have flashbacks of Eric’s betrayal who we learn she’s been with for 3 years. She leaves Los Angeles and starts a cross-country trek back home to be with her parents. As tends to happen in these stories here’s where things begin to pick up.
Claire stops at a rest area and leaves her phone in the bathroom. She has a knack of running into creepy people along her journey and that starts here. A stranger bumps into her outside the restroom (which head scratchingly never pays off later in the film) and sees a homeless woman in the bathroom who’s having a conversation with herself.
After she leaves the rest area her car breaks down and she’s forced to pull off and attempt to fix it. After a few moments, a car stops and out steps Gus (Wes O’Lee). He’s yet another creepy character but despite her misgivings she locks her car with her belongings in it and hitches a ride. We get some more red herrings here during the car ride, but its amping up the intensity of the film nicely.
Gus drops Claire off at the local mechanic’s shop and we’re introduced to Eddie (Mark Scheibmeir). He’s a quiet guy who’s clearly uncomfortable around women. Thanks to the audio clues (and the fact that I’ve watched way too many horror films) I’ve got a feeling from the first moment we meet him that he’s bad news.
Eddie determines that Claire’s car needs some work that he won’t be able to complete until the morning. It’s going to cost her $600 which she doesn’t have. Claire pleads with Eddie to cut her a break which he does and Claire gives him a hug in gratitude. She then goes to a local bar to grab a bite to eat and a drink. At the bar she meets more creepy folks including a SUPER creepy and rather grumpy bartender (Kevin Bulla) who happens to look like her ex boyfriend. In walks Eddie who sits down and they have some awkward conversation over drinks.
She leaves her drink at the bar and goes out to call her parents from the payphone (1995) and when she returns she continues to drink and asks for her bill. Before it comes she passes out. When she awakens she’s bound and gagged in Eddie’s garage.
From here the film devolves into intense psychological and physical torture that will keep you on the edge of your seat and will leave you scratching your head as the credits roll. You’ll ask yourself if things could ever get worse for Claire and then when they do you’ll wonder why she makes some of the choices she does.
Thoughts & Recommendation
Both James (Claire) and Scheibmeir (Eddie) do a great job with special props to Scheibmeir being able to amp up the creep factor with a performance that mixes Forrest Gump with Aaron Rodgers. Yes, I know that’s a weird comparison but it’s the best I could come up with and I think it’s pretty damn accurate. The dialog that Megan Freels has written is tight and even thought I didn’t agree with many of the choices that Claire makes as the film moves forward it feels “real”.
This doesn’t “look” like an indie film which is a very good thing. Its crisp and shot well. Camera angles are done well, lighting is done well and overall the film looks great. The audio here is better than most I hear from indie films. Many times there were audio cues that sort of gave away the story such as when Eddie was introduced, etc. but I have to say that I don’t think it detracted from the overall film.
I do have to say that Rebound feels that it runs a bit long. It’s got a tightly written scrip but with a plot that’s this straight forward I’m not quite sure it’s got enough there to be a feature. I think it could probably have been accomplished in a short film format and still have gotten the plot and intensity across. That said, some of these long sequences such as when Claire is watching TV or taking a shower early in the film or when she and Eddie are having awkward conversation at the bar really do serve to intensify the film. The torture scene is paced well and really makes you feel Claire’s physical and mental anguish.
Rebound is clearly a very personal film for Megan Freels. It’s an outstanding directorial debut and I’d guess we’ll see big things from her in the future. This is a definite recommend for anyone looking for an intense thriller (not sure I’d call this “horror”). Luckily as of yesterday it’s available for you to watch. I’d like to offer a special thanks to Megan for giving us access to her film!
You can learn more about Rebound at the following links.
- Official website: www.reboundthriller.com
- IMDB: www.imdb.com/title/tt2837194
- Official Facebook: www.facebook.com/ReboundMovie
- Twitter: @Rebound_Movie
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