(Lance Henriksen, Aubrey Morris, et al / DVD / R / 2009 / LGF)
Overview: Deborah Fielding will stop at nothing to uncover the layers of corruption that lie deep within the walls of Edgewater Psychiatric Institute, even if it costs her life. In a series of twisted events, this budding investigative journalist unlocks a Pandora’s box of deceit. As she confronts uncertainties, authorities and demons from her past, she realizes they have been dwelling closer than she thought. What she finds is that her seemingly perfect life is nothing more than a perfect lie.
DVD Verdict: A team of mercenaries hired by Dr. Fibrian (Lance Henriksen) capture a supernatural creature in a tomb near ancient Babylon. It infects one of the party, Frank Sanders (Gary Hudson), and after some experiments, the doctor discovers the rejuvenating power of the creature’s blood.
Sixteen years later, the plot turns to follow Deborah Fielding (Kathryn Fiore), a journalism student in the early stages of pregnancy. When Dr. Fibrian’s not roughing someone up or kidnapping children and subjecting them to cruel procedures, he conveys in more voiceovers that Fielding is the next stage of the experiment begun with the expedition.
Fielding begins taking the drug Reficul, marketed as “a replacement for spinal epidurals during childbirth”, but which supposedly also works to combat morning sickness. Her thesis research uncovers alleged abuses involving Reficul at Edgewater, Fibrian’s psychiatric (natch) hospital, and possible corruption involving the FDA and Gordian Labs, who developed the drug and are about to hold an IPO.
We learn that Sanders, whose own supernatural powers have helped him become CEO of Gordian, is in cahoots with Fibrian, and that they both regularly shoot up Reficul. Meanwhile, detective Russo (Eric Feldman) is trying to solve the case of a girl who disappeared 16 years before.
OK, for those not following ... the drug Reficul is (obviously!) Lucifer spelled backwards ... and yet, impossible as it is to believe, the revelation of the fact marks one of the climaxes of this maddening film. I say one of the climaxes because there are several, each matching its own plot thread.
While there are some good turns by character actors in small roles, such as Richard Riehle as Captain Parsons, Feldman, who co-wrote and co-produced the film, should have stayed behind the camera. His Russo lacks the gruff swagger the character requires. Danny Trejo is wasted as Fibrian’s strong man. [MCN] This is a Widescreen Presentation (1.78:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs, but does not come with any Special Features.