When I was a kid my favorite activity was going to our local video store, The Video Station, and perusing the Horror section for as long as my mother would allow. I would scan the familiar covers and squeal when I stumbled onto something I hadn’t noticed before. Then there were other videos. Videos that were always there, never checked-out. Videos you’ve historically glazed over based on some quality or taste issue with the cover art (XTRO), title (Killer Klowns From Outer Space), or both (Chopping Mall)1.
The Taking of Deborah Logan was this type of film for me. I added it to my wishlist but promptly deprioritized it based on some quick assumptions: It’s a found-footage film, and I was experiencing some level of fatigue for the sub-genre; the cover art felt lazy and unoriginal; I didn’t recognize any names attached to the project; and nobody I know had ever mentioned it. Months later a fellow Horror superfan I know and respect wrote about the film, saying it wasn’t at all what she expected and how pleasantly suprised (and shocked) she was. Based on her glowing recommendation I gave it a look, and I’m so glad I did.
The premise (“documentary” about elderly Alzheimer’s woman descending into the depths of dementia… or is she?) doesn’t always go down so easily, primarily due in equal parts to the writing as well as the performance by lead Jill Larson. When things go left and the drama/horror is ramped up she absolutely thrives, going all in. It’s in the quieter moments that I have a tough time really accepting her delivery. I also wish there was a clearer delineation between what is and what may not actually be dementia. But there are a few effective, shocking, and inventive segments that I think really elevate this film and make it something actually kind of special.
- Turns out later in life I would love many of those films for the very reasons I originally thought I would hate them then.↩