Where Are You Sophia? -- Film Review

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CANNES -- A murky hodge-podge of horror elements, "Where Are You Sophia?" seems like a student film from the 1970s, albeit with lesser production values.

Filmmaker Nagendra Karri has crammed together a don't-go-in-the-woods/haunted mansion scenario that is so poorly assembled that it never generates any sense of fright or peril. Audiences will be lulled by the confusing and labored storytelling in this movie from Eternal Mind.

Sodden with a narrative that patches itself with expository dialogue and inner monologues, "Sophia" is a muddle. At the core, it's central characters are not particularly appealing or entrancing, owing to the lackluster scripting of director Karri.

Plot-wise, a sullen stranger (Peter James Elias) tries to unravel the mystery of an enigmatic woman, Sophia (Amanda Boyd), whom he has met on a dreary beach. His quest leads to his having a blackout in the woods and he ends up in a seedy motel at the base of the eerie Highlands. Throughout, he labors to figure out what has happened during his blackout and who is the mysterious Sophia.

Ladling in a requisite amount of ogre-ish local folks, Karri never generates any narrative dynamic. Periodically, Karri heaves in some out-of-the-frame assaults on the beleaguered protagonist but never develops a sense of real jeopardy. Ultimately, we never care about the characters.

Overall, director of photography Robert Flowers' dim-lit lensing does nothing to illuminate any atmospheric horrors. Indicative of the underachieving storytelling, minor moments are pumped up by a deafening score, as if such punctuation could bring "Sophia" to life.
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