Forgetting the Girl: Film Review

"Forgetting the Girl"
Creepy atmospherics don't fully compensate for the narrative flaws in this "Psycho"-style thriller.

Nate Taylor's psychological thriller concerns a portrait photographer with possibly dangerous women issues.

Attention budding actresses and models: You'll think twice about going for that next head shot after seeing Nate Taylor's psychological thriller about a male photographer with severe women issues. While only sporadically effective in its attempt at creating a modern-day Psycho, Forgetting the Girl does manage to sustain a sufficiently disturbing mood that is not easily forgotten.

Narrated in first person in the form of a confessional video diary, the story revolves around nerdy Kevin Wolfe (Christopher Denham), a portrait photographer still haunted by the drowning death of his young sister years earlier. Clearly not the type who's wildly successful with women, he nonetheless hits on every subject in his studio and by the sheer law of averages manages to be sporadically successful. When things inevitably don't work out, he seeks to eliminate those memories by indulging in such distractions as binge-viewing episodes of Lost.

His conquests include the genuinely sweet Beth (Elizabeth Rice), who finds that Kevin wants to go a lot faster in the relationship than she does, and the beautiful Adrienne (Anna Camp), who is only interested in a one-night stand. The latter mysteriously disappears shortly afterward, in one of the film's more suspenseful plotlines.

Among the other people in Kevin's life are his creepy, porn-obsessed landlord (Paul Sparks) and his clearly disturbed goth chick assistant, Jamie (an over-the-top Lindsay Beamish), whose romantic obsession with him results in her stalking him on his dates and angrily yelling at herself in the mirror. Things only get worse when Kevin hooks up with her one night and then tells her that it was a mistake.

Taylor does a good job of slowly ratcheting up the tension via various impressive if occasionally intrusive stylistic techniques and has elicited an effective, darkly deadpan performance by Denham in the central role. But the film is undercut by its often confusing screenplay, which includes a late revelation about the sister's drowning that lacks the intended dramatic impact.

Opens Oct. 11 (RAM Releasing)

Production: Full Stealth Films

Cast: Christopher Denham, Lindsay Beamish, Elizabeth Rice, Paul Sparks, Anna Camp, Phyllis Somerville

Director: Nate Taylor

Screenwriter: Peter Moore Smith

Producers: Brian Gonsar, Victor Reyes, Camiren Romero, Nate Taylor

Executive producer: Dennis Wallestad

Director of photography: Mark Pugh

Editor: Victoria Lesiw

Production designer: Nadya Gurevich

Costume designer: Naomi Wolff

Composer: Robert Miller

Not rated, 85 min.