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Monday, April 23

Movie Review – The Odds, 2018

I got a chance to check out a new independent horror film this weekend called The Odds. It’s a 2018 film, feature-length, made by Uproar Pictures, written and directed by Bob Giordano.

The story revolves around two main characters, a woman and a man whose names we never learn. It is basically a two-person film (for the most part), and takes place almost entirely in one location. I’ve seen some terrific films of this sort in the past – “man in a box” type stories that are true character-driven stories.  Buried, from 2010 comes to mind (starring Ryan Reynolds), which takes place entirely in a coffin buried underground. For this type story to work you need two main things; a solid script, and great actors. The Odds has both.

The story opens with a young woman (Abbi Butler) entering a warehouse type facility. A man (James J. Fuertes) enters the room and sits at a table opposite her. We learn that she has entered a game, and the man is the facilitator of the game. She is competing against unseen players in distant locations, the winner to receive one million dollars. To win, she must have a high threshold for pain, as she is subjected to a different torture technique each round. The facilitator is in communication with the game leaders through a Bluetooth earpiece. Once three players drop out each round is over. We learn that the final round involves a game of Russian roulette, and once you reach that round there is no backing out. This ultimately leads her to question herself, her motivations, the man across from her, and even the game itself.

The film brought to mind for me a short story by Roald Dahl called Man from the South, which has been adapted several times, initially for TV as an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents (starring Peter Lorre), where a man bets his car against another man’s little finger that his lighter will work ten times in a row. Most recently Quentin Tarantino did a version of this same story for the 1995 film Four Rooms.

The bulk of the story of THE ODDS involves the back and forth dialogue between the two main actors. It would be easy to become bored with a 107-minute movie featuring just two characters, but that isn’t the case here. The script is well-written and builds tension throughout, engaging the viewer and drawing them in with excellent performances from the two leads.

The violence may be tough to watch in places for some people, but I thought the film did an excellent job presenting it without wallowing in it, walking that fine line without crossing into torture-porn territory. I found it an entertaining film, and worth tracking down. I understand a sequel in in the works, as well.

The Odds is currently making the festival circuit and will be screening at this year’s Nashville Film Festival on Friday May 11th, 9pm, and Thursday May 17 at 8:30pm.