Among Friends (2012)
Review by Jude Felton
Regardless of how many genre flicks Danielle Harris appears in, and it’s a shitload, she’ll always be Jamie Lloyd (Halloween 4/5) and Molly Tilden (Roseanne) to me. Those were my introductions to this wonderful actor, whose career I have enjoyed following. Funnily enough, at the time of writing this review I have another film sitting on my shelf ready for review that also stars Danielle.
Among Friends though is not a starring venture for Harris, even though the eagle-eyed out there might spot her in a cool as hell moment, it is instead her debut as a director. And, as debuts go, it is an assured and enjoyable one.
The scene is set when a group of friends in LA all make their way to a party, where the theme turns out to be a murder mystery. Little do they know that the party’s theme is going to run a little too close to home for comfort, as someone has a few nasty surprise lined up for them. So begins a rather painful night, where friendship is pushed to the limit.
What Harris has achieved here, with the help of Alyssa Lobit’s script (Lobit also stars), is create a tense and uncomfortable viewing experience that is far more violent than I had imagined it would be. In what I think is a smart move, most of the action takes place in one room, with the film only occasionally venturing to other areas. This allows Harris to have a lot more freedom in executing the evil script.
Aside from Among Friends being a vicious little bugger, it also has some delightfully dark humor contained within. Scenes such as a particularly cool drug-induced hallucination and pretty much every scene AJ Bowen is in, are a joy to watch. With that in mind, I should also add that there are plenty of scenes that will make you feel quite uncomfortable whilst watching.
The cast are pretty damned good, for the most part, with the aforementioned Bobit and Bowen kicking ass. But also, the likes of Jennifer Blanc, who doesn’t handle the situation very well, and Kane Hodder in a small part, all add to the enjoyment. There are also some nice cameos hidden away for you to enjoy.
The film itself does bare a resemblance to David Guy Levy’s terrific Would You Rather, with both films spending a hell of a lot of time around a dinner table, but both stand alone as good fun films.
Overall, Among Friends was just a good fun film to watch. Harris obviously called in a few friends to help on her debut, but the end product was most enjoyable to watch. Whether or not this is the start of a new career for the diminutive actor remains to be seen, although on this evidence I would hope to see more directorial outings from her.
Among Friends is released on DVD by Lionsgate and is available now.