C47Houston Flix Review:

"Enemy of the Mind"



What do you do when you find that the people around you are being murdered and you are being set-up as a murderer? This is the focus of Director Brandon Stephens’ feature psychological thriller motion picture, “Enemy of the Mind”.

Story by Manny Rey, “Enemy of the Mind” follows Detective Frank Del Toro (played by Manny Rey), a troubled and angry cop who has lost his wife, Abby, to a murderer he cannot find. When chasing a lead he has a heart attack. Over-worked and a heavy drinker, the Department has ordered him to see Dr. Carla Salvani (played by Jennifer Joseph) a Psychiatrist to help him deal with his problems. Finding comfort with alcohol, Del Toro finds that someone is killing off the women he meets. He suspects a hooded and dark figure, a shadow, that has been following him and he suspects as his wife’s killer, but all fingers are pointing toward Del Toro. Now, he is on a quest to find out why he is being “setup” for murder. Twists and turns “Enemy of the Mind” will lead you into the mind of a serial killer.

Directed by Brandon Stephens this movie is a good effort by the team. It’s not the best movie I have ever seen but it does have the ability to keep you in your seat. The opening sequence, alone, is fast paced all leading the main character on a chase and ending with a gun in his face, brilliant. Technically, the movie is in need of some work. There are some great scenes in “Enemy of the Mind” and overall, the movie has an interesting story. Editing could have been a little tighter and the dialogue could have been a little more natural. There is nothing worse than an actor just reading lines without personality. This is something that we see in a lot of independent movies. The ability to deliver lines in an almost natural way comes with your comfort level in front of the camera and the experience you have in relating to your character. Forcing your lines by delivering the line and not understanding the context behind what you are saying, as the character, is not believable nor is it natural. What you end up receiving is something similar to a computer generated dub. The one obvious glitch in this feature is ADR. Although the voices were sync’ed the inflections to verbal communication were lacking and monotoned.  I had a hard time in believing the characters (not all of them, of course but quite a few). But, let’s get past that.

The soundtrack to the movie was complimentary, transitional and not overbearing; even if it did sound like it was synthesized and reminiscent of the 70’s.

As well as a director, Brandon Stephens was also behind the camera, as cinematographer, shooting this movie. The shots were amazing and flowing. His use of camera movement only added to the creativity of his vision as a moviemaker and as a director. Camera angles, close-ups, peering over railings, following the action, and many other uses of his camera are quite remarkable in this movie. He did a fantastic job.

Now comes the hard part. As we credit anyone that takes the time to make a movie, we do not like to take away from the hard work that anyone puts into making that movie. Our goal is NOT to say a movie is bad or not worth seeing. Our goal here is give YOU, the reader, an unbiased evaluation of what WE see. WE don’t try to second guess and conclude that you could of, would of or should of, we merely state an observation for you to determine, on your own, whether our observations are correct or not.

With the exception of a few actors that performed well together, we didn’t think the ensemble worked. Casting was, at best, mediocre for a suspense thriller that contained some outstanding camera work and a director that visualized a psychological crime drama with aptitude. Do I blame the director for not bringing out the best in his cast? Or is he working with what he has, what his budget is and/or the time he has to make this movie? I don’t know. Perhaps, it was just timing, but the ensemble was not matched nor was it even close to being the right cast. We think this is a major flaw in the film. Believable and complimentary characters are lacking in this feature. We tried to over-look the problem and take the movie for was it was, a suspense psychological thriller, but we always came back with an assessment that the casting was inadequate to make this movie an outstanding feature motion picture. “C” grade at best and that’s too bad as this was a good story.  Determine for yourself. Pick up a copy and watch it. Support independent projects. Be a producer.

C47Houston’s TSIRS rating: We give this feature a 3.8 out of 5 on the TSIRS scale.

C47Houston was at the Houston Premiere of “Enemy of the Mind” at Worldfest-Houston You can see the pictures at:  https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.3751224738682.2174165.1218281768&type=1&l=1bb37d2b7c

We were able to get Director Brandon Stephens to talk to our camera about “Enemy of the Mind” you can see it at: http://youtu.be/IZeYlbXpcaI

Shot in Smithville/Austin, Texas

Title: Enemy of the Mind

Production Company: Fasha Films and Brandon Stephens Films

Director: Brandon Stephens

Screenplay by:  Manny Rey and Brandon Stephens

Story by: Manny Rey

Cinematographer: Brandon Stephens

Producers: Manny Rey, Allison Wood and Brandon Stephens

Executive Producer: Brenda Erickson

Editor: Brandon Stephens

Music by: David Bateman

MUA: Melissa Paxton

Casting: Manny Rey, Felix Alonzo, Al Bianchi, Christian Bowman,  Ricard de Herrera, AnnMarie Giaquinto, Bobbie Grace, Ed Hattaway, Jolyn Janis, Jennifer Joseph, Eric Leikam, Chris Osborn, Ray Perez, Dimitrius Pulido, Natalie Smith, Natalie Wilemon Allison Wood.









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