Review: The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)

The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014) Directed by: Adam Robitel Written by: Gavin Heffernan and Adam Robitel Starring: Jill Larson, Anne Ramsay, Michelle Ang When I saw the trailer...

The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)
Directed by: Adam Robitel
Written by: Gavin Heffernan and Adam Robitel
Starring: Jill Larson, Anne Ramsay, Michelle Ang

3 Knives

When I saw the trailer for The Taking of Deborah Logan, I’m sure my thoughts were quite similar to many of yours. “Great, another found-footage possession flick. Think I’ll pass.” But Adam Robitel’s new film puts a slight spin on this weary formula: the titular Deborah may not actually be possessed as she’s suffering from Alzheimer’s. How much of what she appears to experience is all in her mind and how much of it is real? “Well, that’s sort of interesting,” I thought. “Maybe I’ll give it a shot.”

So I did. And I found that The Taking of Deborah Logan was a fairly entertaining, yet predictable horror romp that quickly abandons its unique set up for the standard tropes we’ve all come to expect from these types of movies. Basically, some of it works and some of it doesn’t.

As per usual, we’re given the naive, twenty-something, college project film crew (hot girl, two dumb guys) who are creating a documentary about Alzheimer’s. Elderly Deborah is in the early stages of the disease and in order to pay some back property taxes and hospital bills, her daughter Sarah talks her into being the focus of the college kids’ film. Now the cameras are rolling and (you guessed it) inexplicable things begin to occur. Was Deborah actually levitating, or was it just a glitch in the video? Is she digging holes in the backyard to uncover some long-buried murder victim, or is she just having another delusional episode? At first it appears as if most of the supposedly supernatural events taking place are in fact just an extension of Deborah’s illness. But this tantalizing question is answered all too soon when we’re given a hastily-concocted back story about a dead, local serial killer who yearns to live and kill again, whether he does it in his own body or not. This reveal comes off almost as an afterthought, though it does lead to some interesting events by the end of the movie.

Surprisingly enough, even with the at-times lackluster story (and some flat acting), there are a handful of genuinely frightening moments in The Taking of Deborah Logan. Jill Larson’s portrayal of Deborah is excellent. Her unhinged, violent episodes are truly disturbing and horrific to watch. When she isn’t lashing out and baying like an animal, Larson manages to impart a chilling look of madness into the character making Deborah look haunted and alone, like she’s trapped inside of her own body. It gives one pause because it isn’t often we see the elderly focused on in a horror film. And there’s really no other way to say this: a lot of old people are scary. They embody the inevitable future and the dissolution of youth. I think Robitel was attempting to play to many of us and our fears of aging and death.

There’s a lot of typical shaky camera work in The Taking of Deborah Logan and it most certainly detracts from the story. The final sequence seems to suffer from it the most, though the reveal we’re treated to is one of the most chilling movie moments I’ve come across in recent years. I slept with my TV on the night I watched it, with Stepbrothers in the DVD player.

While The Taking of Deborah Logan doesn’t bring too much to the table that we haven’t seen before, it is a competently-executed horror flick and, just based on the third act alone, is worth the time spent watching it at least once.

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  • Melissa B.
    19 November 2014 at 8:06 pm - Reply

    I personally loved this one. It was a refreshing take on the possession films that have clouded the horror film industry lately. And I found there to be a lot of creepy ass moments in it. Yes, some parts I did as well predict but there were still enough scenes in it that surprised me, and kept me interested. I’d give it a 4/5.

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