C47Houston Flix Review:

"Conjoined"

 

 

A lonely man meets a woman on a dating website and they fall in love. When wedding bells start to ring, the fiancée decides it's best to meet and to move into his apartment. But there is one caveat, her sister is also moving in.  Attached at the hip, one of the sisters is a little psychopathic in this feature comedy suspense motion picture by Director Joe Grisaffi titled "Conjoined".

Written by Chuck and Tim Norfolk "Conjoined" follows Stanley Arnold (played by Tom Long) a single loner who is seeking love on a match making website. There he meets Alina (played by Michelle Ellen Jones) a pretty young woman seeking a relationship and marriage. As their "online" romance continues things get serious. Stanley proposes to Alina and invites her to live with him in his small abode. Wanting to start the relationship on the right foot, Alina confesses that she has a twin sister named Alisa (played by Keefer Barlow). They are not identical twins. Alina informs Stanley that she and her sister are pretty close and that Alisa is going to live with them in Stanley's small home. More concerned about two sisters living with him in his small home, he reluctantly agrees as he is in love with Alina. 

When the day comes that Alina and Stanley meet for the first time at his home, he is surprised and shocked to find that Alina and her twin sister, Alisa, are joined at the hip...LITERALLY.  They are Siamese twins.

Not in the least deterred, Stanley is determined to make this relationship with Alina work for the best. As their relationship flourishes,  Stanley seeks a partner for Alisa and asks his buddy and co-worker Jerry (played by Jacob Bryd) to check out the hot and available Alisa over dinner. This is where we find out that Alisa is a mean alcoholic, a vixen and a bit psychotic with violent tendencies.  Never giving up, Stanley suggest that Alisa seek a partner on a dating website, the same website where he met Alina. Looking at several dating candidates, Alisa convinces Ty (played by Troy Parker) to come over to the house. When Ty realizes that he is dealing with Siamese Twins, he starts to take pictures. Alisa flips out and bashes Ty's head in in a sequence that seems to last forever.  As the bodies start to pile up and Alisa's appetite for blood grows stronger, Stanley must now figure out how to separate the twins and end the bloodshed. 

Our take on the Story: The story written by Tim and Chuck Norfolk is unique and we found it to be a very entertaining story. There was comedic situations and the dialogue led this story through the beginning, to the middle and to the end. It's not a very complex story, but it didn't really have to be. The premise was easy to follow, you have Siamese twins, one good the other psychotic and a boyfriend in the middle of them. The story lends itself for building up characters, introducing problems, finding resolutions and finally ending with a planned resolution. We found it to be very well written. Sure there were some plot holes but it worked. 

Our take on the production value, the technical side:  On their "Conjoined" facebook page under "about" the team states in their "Short Description", "A lonely man. An internet romance. A house with no doors. No shot list. Complete disregard for continuity. Plot holes you can drive a truck through. Lowering the bar for indie horror." And, yes there were some continuity issues and yes there where some plot holes but we do disagree that this movie lowered the bar for independent horror.  The story did have a beginning, middle and end. Lighting was interesting and a bit flat, there were some lighting set ups, but mostly a key light and maybe a filler.  Sound was not rich or deep but it was consistent throughout the entire movie. There was a bit of an echo in the delivery of lines, but it worked for this movie and sound was kind of raw in its nature.  Camera work was excellent and creative. (no blurriness, no washouts) The cinematographer took the time to block and frame his shots, even though they alleged that they didn't have a shot list. If their creativeness, in shooting this movie came on the fly, they did an excellent job in putting a nice piece of work together. The movie's score was complimentary and not over bearing.

We think Director Joe Grisaffi did a great job in directing and producing this movie. He was able to get some outstanding performances from all of the talent involved with this movie, including his crew. What we especially enjoyed were the extended "pausing" scenes where the camera continued to shoot despite the lack of dialogue or action. We think it intensified the emotions or humor in these kind of scenes. Ordinarily, these type of scenes don't work, but Mr. Grisaffi was able to interpret the story and did an excellent job in giving the audience something humorous to look at in this movie. It worked and Mr. Grisaffi did a fine job in directing the action, the characters and telling a story.

Our take on the Acting: This was an interesting ensemble of actors and it worked. The actors in this particular movie were meant to play these particular characters. Tom Long, who played Stanley, was outstanding and paired with Michelle Ellen Jones, who played Alina, produced a believable and loving couple who really cared for each other (in make believe). Also, Michelle paired with Keefer Barlow, who played Alisa, was genius. Although, they were loving sisters, joined at the hip, they had very different personalities. One sweet and innocent, the other a psychopathic vixen. Ms. Barlow was outstanding and her performance was absolutely wicked. She was every bit a psychotic and she made the character. You won't be disappointed in any of the performances. 

Our assessment:  Even though this movie was a little rough in its production value, with regard to sound and lighting, we nonetheless found this feature movie to be very entertaining. Getting past the imperfections, "Conjoined" had the "look" of a "cheesy" movie, but I just happen to know both the writer and director of "Conjoined" and they, individually, have made some outstanding projects utilizing the rules of filmmaking.  We have a feeling that this movie was meant to appear as "Lowering the bar for Indie horror", however, and on the contrary, the low production value of  "Conjoined" may be an illusion cause this was a nicely constructed movie, with a good story.

Don't believe us? Check out the movie for yourself. You can order it, get on DVD or BluRay, you can also stream it online through Amazon and NetFlix or any other online distribution outlet.

C47Houston News & Entertainment Magazine and C47Houston WEEKLY rated "Conjoined" using the TSIRS scale and rated this movie as a strong 4.6 out of 5 Stars.  

Title: "Conjoined"

Production Company: Starship Films LLC and Lucky Chucky Productions

Executive Produced by: Bob Willems

Produced by: Stefan Lopez, Derek Huey, Joe Grisaffi and Chuck Norfolk

Written by: Chuck Norfolk and Tim Norfolk

Directed by: Joe Grisaffi

FX Consultant: Kristi Boul

Additional Visual Effects by: Nick Rios

Wardrobe Consultant: Liz Tee

Music: "Bitch (can't hode dey smoke)" by Toe Head from the album Quid Pro Toe

Casting: Tom Long as Stanley Arnold, Michelle Ellen Jones as Alina, Keefer Barlow as Alisa, Jacob Byrd as Jerry, Sara Gaston as Detective Waters. Also cast: Dan Braverman, Stefan Lopez, Troy Parker, Derek Huey, Larry Carrell, Nick Nicholson, Deidre Stephens.  

Website: www.ConjoinedMovie.com 

IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt2909196/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ConjoinedMovie 

YouTube Trailer: http://youtu.be/LzXe-VEbkDo 

Written by: H.Luna / C47Houston News & Entertainment Magazine / C47Houston WEEKLY All Rights Reserved 12-20-14

 
 

             

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