The location is the thing in Erik Bloomquist’s psychological thriller that aims for Hitchcockian suspense but mainly coasts on atmosphere. That atmosphere is vividly provided by the opulent Greenwich, Conn., mansion that serves as the primary location. Unfortunately, while Long Lost has its moments, it ultimately fails to capitalize on its intriguing premise.
The film essentially features only three characters: Seth (Adam Weppler, who also contributed to the story), a young man of modest means; his long-lost, older half-brother Richard (Nicholas Tucci, delivering an admirably intense portrayal), who has suddenly invited Seth to spend the weekend at his lavishly appointed home; and Abby (Catherine Corcoran), Richard’s alluring girlfriend (and the film’s obligatory femme fatale), whose friendliness toward Seth quickly becomes more than casual.
Seth, who has never before met his brother, is understandably perplexed when Richard greets him with an effusive “Welcome home!” He’s even more disconcerted by his first encounter with Abby, which occurs as she’s stepping out of the shower. It soon becomes apparent that his hosts don’t feel the need for boundaries, as indicated by their habit of having very noisy sex with their bedroom door open.
As the weekend progresses, Seth learns that his brother’s wife was killed in an accident that left Richard unscathed but in need of a hearing aid. Richard alternately acts menacingly and solicitously toward his younger half-sibling, while Abby makes clear her amorous intentions. The strange goings-on include the trio playing a game of “Chubby Bunny”: a dog making mysterious appearances; and Richard displaying a penchant for playing piano in the nude. When a seriously weirded-out Seth declares his intention to leave, Richard offers him $10,000 to stay one more day. It’s an offer the financially strapped Seth can’t afford to pass up.
The film never establishes a consistent tone, sometimes feeling like a black comedy (those are the more successful moments) and sometimes like a standard-issue erotic thriller (Abby is frequently shown in various states of undress, although, to be fair, so is Richard). The characterizations, too, register as uneven; Richard and Abby hold your attention with their strange interactions and behavior, but Seth, even though he’s meant to be an everyman with whom the audience is supposed to relate, is too bland to make us care about his fate. The performers do what they can to bring the artificial-feeling material to life, but only Tucci, entertainingly chewing the scenery, is truly compelling.
Most problematically, the film features a final act twist, including the introduction of a new character, that is seemingly designed to throw everything preceding it into an entirely new light. The revelation lacks the intended dramatic punch, and doesn’t even make a whole lot of sense. In interviews, the writer-director has expressed the hope that viewers will want to watch the film a second time to catch the clues they previously missed. It seems like wishful thinking.
Production Company: Mainframe Pictures
Distributor: Indie Rights
Cast: Catherine Corcoran, Adam Weppler, Nicholas Tucci
Director-screenwriter/editor: Erik Bloomquist
Producers: Carson Bloomquist, Erik Bloomquist, Nicholas Tucci, Adam Weppler
Director of photography: Thomson Nguyen
Production designer: Lily Bolles
Costume designer: Missy DiPiero
Composer: Gyom Amphoux