Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Horror TV: The Future Looks Bright (and Bloody!)

Daryl (Norman Reedus) is proficient in taking out walkers on THE WALKING DEAD
There's never been a better time to be a horror fan  - or a more appropriate time to try to put out a new show in the horror genre. With the resounding success of such shows as Dexter, True Blood, and most recently American Horror Story and the wildly popular (and critically acclaimed) The Walking Dead, horror has proved it is very much alive and well and prospering on the small screen. In fact, The Walking Dead is averaging over 10 million viewers an episode - a feat unheard of for a cable television show, let alone a horror product. Even more impressive is that it is in contention to rival The Big Bang Theory as the top-rated scripted show. TWD is currently the number one show among 18-49 year olds. And it's not even on one of the big four networks.  Seriously, WHOA! And I know I'm not alone when I say this season has been its best yet!

The success of the aforementioned shows, as well as newer shows like the genre-bending Once Upon A Time, Grimm, and this season's 666 Park Avenue (just canceled, unfortunately) are making it more acceptable than ever to be a horror fan.
The teen rage shows such as The Vampire Diaries, this fall's newbie Beauty and the Beast, and the long-running Supernatural continue to guide new generations to appreciate horror and turn them into long-term fans.
And now, we have three new shows to look forward to in the near future that are nothing if not horror.

HANNIBAL (Mads Mikkelsen)  inspects the flatware.
HANNIBAL tries to draw new blood from the character of  Dr. Hannibal ("the cannibal") Lecter - whose character rose to fame under the sublime (and Oscar-winning) performance of Sir Anthony Hopkins in The Silence of the Lambs. In the upcoming take on the story, the unstable doctor Lecter works closely with Special Agent Will Graham - a criminal profiler from the FBI.  Lecters special skill set will become an asset to Graham, though the two are bound to clash eventually when their personalities, as well as Lecter's other hobbies, come to light. Though I wouldn't want to have the unenviable task of attempting to bring life to such an iconic character as Hannibal, Mads Mikkelsen (the Danish actor who portrayed the crazy-cool, bleeding-eye villain in 2006's Casino Royale) has been cast as the serial killer shrink, and I'm on board with it, as Mads just reeks a creepy vibe.  Also cast is Hugh Dancy (aka Mr. Claire Danes), who is set to play Agent Graham, and Laurence Fishburne will portray Agent Jack Crawford. Looks interesting, to say the least.

Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga relax near the BATES MOTEL
In BATES MOTEL (A & E, 2013), we get yet another take on the life of Norman Bates and his dear mother.  Freddie Highmore (Finding Neverland, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory) will bring on the weird as Norman, and Vera Farmiga will star as his beloved mama, Norma. Billed as a prequel to the famous Hitchcock film, it has Norman as an awkward 16 year old who is having trouble adjusting to his new school (and his new town, apparently - as we discover when we meet the sheriff and his deputy who are keeping a close eye on Norman). Also in the picture will be Norman's older brother Dylan (Max Theriot), who apparently is a bit of a bad ass himself.  But I have my doubts he's as disturbed as our pal Norman is. As a rabid fan of Norman Bates, I will have to do a mental adjustment to accept anyone but Anthony Perkins as Norman. But I am wildly curious about this series and you can bet your butcher knife I'll be parked in front of the flat screen when this series premieres next fall. (Might get my shower out of the way beforehand, though...)

Kevin Bacon and James Purefoy star in THE FOLLOWING this January
And in THE FOLLOWING (Jan, 2013- FOX), Kevin Bacon stars as an FBI agent on the trail of a serial killer (James Purefoy, Rome) the likes of which the world has never seen before.  This baddie has discovered a way to reach out to other serial killers and - for lack of a better phrase - band them together to wreak collective havoc on the United States.  In my book, anything with Kevin Bacon in it is bound to be interesting, as I have enjoyed his many forays into the darker side of cinema - and now he's checking into the small screen.  Bacon's retired FBI profiler is brought in to try to find an escaped serial killer that he caught years ago.
This psychological thriller is getting a lot of advance buzz, and most of it seems to be on the positive side.
Bizarrely enough, it's brought to us by Kevin Williamson - more famous for his teen shows like Dawson's Creek and The Vampire Diaries. But I don't think I'm being too bold in saying that I have a feeling it's a long way off from those shows if Kevin Bacon is starring.  It also stars Shawn Ashmore (The Ruins, Frozen, Mother's Day) and Maggie Grace (LOST, Taken).

So, horror fans, get ready for some small screen horror, and in light of all the violence and gore that network shows like American Horror Story and in particular The Walking Dead get away with these days, we could be in for a real treat.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thale (2012) : The Real Reason To Avoid Scandinavia

Review by Marie Robinson

Of what little I have seen so far, I think I already love Norwegian horror. There is such a weirdness to it, a blunt tribute to the country’s folklore. The first Norwegian horror film that I can recall seeing is Trollhunter (2010), which is downright amazing and I have just viewed my second. It is entitled Thale (tall-eh) and it was released at the beginning of this year.

Directed by Aleksander Nordass, it stars brothers Elvis (Erlend Nervold) and Leo (John Sigve Skard). Before I continue let me just say that I watched a version that was very poorly translated into English, so I really only have the most basic understanding of this film and a lot of this is speculation. Okay—here we go.

Leo has that unfortunate job of being that guy who cleans up crime-scenes and has recently gotten his brother a job alongside him. They are at a house cleaning up the bloody remains of an elderly man (and Elvis’ resulting vomit) and it becomes instantly clear that there is some tension between these two. They have been out of touch for some years and are having trouble falling gracefully back into each others lives.

Elvis decides to do some poking around in the house and forces the door of a cellar, finding cans of food that have long-expired. Deeper within the basement he finds a strange room—you know, one of those with the newspaper clippings and drawings/photographs tacked all over the walls. There is a desk with a pile of cassette tapes and a tape player and a bathtub full of a milky substance.

Even though Leo instructs him over and over again not to touch anything, well… he’s just got to! Right?!
He starts playing one of the tapes and it seems to be some sort of audio journal, a recording of a man talking, and a woman screaming. This recording awakens something; the water stirs in the tub and a woman emerges from the water.

She looks seemingly normal, except there is a strange look in her big brown eyes, and she doesn’t speak a word. Leo, who seems to always keep his cool, insists that they wait for his boss (I’m assuming) to arrive before they decide what to do. While they wait, Elvis tries to get close to this woman—Thale—and maybe shed some light on her story. Although she cannot speak, Thale can project memories into Elvis’s mind through touch, and through this gift her past begins to unravel. But someone—or thing—is definitely watching, and there is a secret presence that lingers in the woods that surround the isolated house.

The questions that arise in Elvis’ (and our) mind(s) are: Was Thale kept here as a prisoner or for protection? What does everyone want with her? Is she of this world?

Even though I couldn’t have full comprehension of Thale because of the shitty subtitles I enjoyed this low-budget picture. The atmosphere is there—dark, dank; all of the mystery and the secretiveness are almost palpable. There is also a great sense of suspense—a real one, not that cheap, jump-scare shit.

These actors have done little else, and nothing mainstream, but I can honestly say everyone gave a good performance. The cinematography was good, the special effects… more like something you would see on a SyFy original flick, but I don’t think it took too much away from the film.

The real reason I was dying to see this film was because, of course, it was based on a folktale. And I don’t think I am giving anything away by giving you some background on the folktale—I have an obligation as resident expert.

The creature in question is called a Huldra, or Skogsrå (meaning Lady of the forest), and is a female forest creature. They exist in several different countries folklore, but we will focus on the Norwegian aspects of the Huldra since this is a Norwegian film! Hobbies include hunting and seducing men—sometimes killing or kidnapping them. They are often beautiful and naked and have a cow’s tail. The Huldra are usually feared by humans and are considered to be evil; many tales are told with a message to avoid them. There is also a creature almost identical to the Skogsrå in Swedish folklore called the Tallemaja, which means Pine Tree Mary. First of all, that’s just a fun name, but also the first bit, “Talle”, which means “pine” is pronounced exactly like Thale, so maybe this is where the filmmaker got his inspiration for the title character.

One more tidbit is that there are two places in Norway named after the Huldras. There is Hulderheim on the island of Karlsøya that means “Home of the Hulder” (a Hulder is a male Huldra) and there is Hulderhusan on the island Hinnøya, which means “Houses of the Hulders”.

This film is pretty hard to film at the moment, and seemingly impossible to find with a decent translation, but if you get a chance, I recommend that you watch it!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Saying Thanks For The Horror In My Life...

...as we gather together
I've been rather MIA lately. I've been so burned out after the Festival of Lists that it's been rough getting a post together.  I've been watching a lot of films, doing some reading too - but just couldn't be motivated enough to sit down and blog, blog, blog.
But with Thanksgiving upon us,  I felt the need to mention some things I've been thankful for lately.

   *First off, I am MOST thankful for Marie.  My writing partner is a breath of fresh air for this blog and I'm so happy to have her on board. She's intelligent, insightful, and a terrific writer! And I rarely have to edit her articles/posts at all.  She keeps putting out quality work that is more than impressive for someone her age. And guess what? She's published.  You're going to want to check out her recent short stories that have been featured in two separate publications. One a magazine called Sanitarium, the other a book called Phobia available on Kindle.

*What's this I hear?  Vertigo bumped Citizen Kane out of the top spot in Sight & Sound's critic's poll in 2012? Whaaat? How exciting is that for us Hitchcock fans?? CK was in the top spot since 1952! So I am thankful for this awesome news. Why?  Because I LOVE VERTIGO WITH ALL MY HEART!

    *Speaking of Hitch, I'm thankful for the additions to my DVD library this year that feature my fave director:  Dial M for Murder, North by Northwest, Rebecca, and a new version of the aforementioned Vertigo.  I already own Rear Window, Strangers on a Train, The Birds, and (of course) Psycho.  I am slowly adding his films to my collection.  Next up:  Marnie, Notorious, Shadow of a Doubt...and who knows what else.  I'm just thankful for Alfred Hitchcock in general. Cannot wait to see Anthony Hopkins portray the master in the upcoming flick: Hitchcock.

    *I'm thankful for winning the Alien DVD quadrilogy from Matt House and his awesome blog Chuck Norris Ate My BabyI've never won anything (other than money by betting the ponies) in my life, so it was an honest pleasure to win something so perfect for a horror fan!

    *Michael Fassbender.  I'm so very thankful for Michael Fassbender. Seeing him in Prometheus pretty much made the entire film for me. Last year's Jane Eyre got me started as a major fan - and then I recalled he was the lead in Eden Lake. Another bonus. Having seen him in several other non-horror films (including his amazing performance in Shame) only solidified the obvious fact that he's not just another pretty face.  This dude can act!

    *I'm thankful for not being punished by having to witness the likes of Chernobyl Diaries, The Apparition, Piranha 3DD, House at the End of the Street, and The Devil Inside in their theatrical run. I did however, spend 5 bucks to go see Dark Shadows, and I bought The Tall Man on DVD without renting it from Netflix first. Hey, I'm not perfect.

    *In that same vein, I'm happy to report that I didn't get motion sick at Paranormal Activity 4.  Because I did not go see PA4.  And I honestly have no desire to do so. I guess I'm saying I'm grateful for not vomiting? Always a plus.

    *Sinister. I'm thankful for my theater experience seeing this one. While it wasn't my favorite film that I saw on the big screen this year (that honor goes to Skyfall, by far), I certainly enjoyed sitting alone in a darkened theater on Halloween afternoon, watching Ethan Hawke unravel an unsettling and horrific mystery while I munched on Sno-Caps and downed a smuggled-in Mountain Dew.

    *Speaking of Daniel Craig - I'm thankful to know the difference between a Dream House and a Dream Home.  The latter 2010 film (starring Josie Ho and putting out some of the most graphic kills I may have ever seen) was vastly superior to the poorly received 2011 psychological thriller starring (real-life spouses) James Bond and Rachel Weisz. Even though the cast was an accomplished and decent one, the film just dragged on for----ever. and had no cohesive moments whatsoever.  Blessedly, Craig redeemed himself for me with both Skyfall and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

   *Thank you, True Blood, for a great Season 5.  Bill and Eric's bromance was a highlight, as was Alcide's ass. They raised the bar by bringing back Russell Edgington and by turning Tara into a vampire. Can't wait for Season 6!  And while it is taking a little longer to grow on me, I'm still grateful for American Horror Story! This year's Asylum is a no-holds-barred kitchen sink of horror. What won't they do next?  It's crazy and outrageous and I love it. Also worth mentioning that I am still a big fan of The Vampire Diaries.  Though geared towards people half my age, the storytelling is quite enjoyable and the guys on the show are fiercely good-looking. And guess what?  They have fangs and know how to use them. What a concept!  It really does succeed where Twilight falters.

    *And finally, the thing I'm probably most thankful for is The Walking Dead.  At the beginning of this season I was utterly distraught that DISH Network and AMC couldn't reach an agreement and AMC was taken off the programming schedule. It made me actually despondent that I might miss an entire season and have to wait until next year to rent it from Netflix. So I guess I should be thankful to DISH and AMC for working out their issues only three episodes into season 3, and I quickly caught up.
Personally, I think TWD is the best show on television, hands down.  Seems America thinks so too.

*In closing, it seems there has been an awful lot to be thankful for as of late. Horror is alive and thriving at the highest level - and this is one fan who hopes to see the trend continue!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Book Spotlight: 8 Great Horror Anthologies

Article by Marie Robinson

I have a serious obsession with anthologies. I love to go to used book stores and scour the shelves for rare and excellent horror anthologies! Here are a few of my favorites from my very own book shelf.

THE DARK: NEW GHOST STORIES edited by Ellen Datlow

First of all, everyone should get to know Ellen Datlow if you don't already. She is one of the greatest editors out there and she has a special place in her heart for horror; the book includes an introduction by herself. The theme of this one is obviously ghost stories and all from modern writers. I always have to check out the table of contents and there are few and here that just made me squeal! Jeffery Ford, Tanith Lee, Joyce Carol Oates, Ramsey Campbell and Kelly Link. You can definitely hear the modern voice in this anthology, and although I prefer the classic gothic voice myself, I do like to give myself a dose of the modern every once in a while, and this is the perfect concoction. It was released by Tor, one of my favorite publishers!
AMERICAN GOTHIC TALES edited by Joyce Carol Oates

Joyce Carol Oates (a.k.a. the shit) edited and introduces this collection of gothic horror stories penned by some of the greatest American authors. With 40+ tales, it showcases what it considered to be each others best, or most popular, as far as the horror short story goes. It contains Nathaniel Hawthorne's "Young Goodman Brown", Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper", Washington Irving's "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" and Henry James' "The Romance of Certain Clothes". There are a few hard-to-find stories by great authors; I was very excited to see the rare pieces, "A Lovely House" by Shirley Jackson and "A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner. There were many tales and authors I had never heard of before, and I had great fun reading this book!

LATE VICTORIAN GOTHIC TALES edited by Roger Luckhurst

Although this collection only has a handful of tales, they are rich, thought-provoking examples of gothic literature.  There are two pieces by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as well as one from Henry James, Oscar Wilde and Rudyard Kipling. What really sealed the deal for me was that this anthology included Arthur Machen's masterpiece "The Great God Pan", an essential piece for serious horror lit fans!

POE'S CHILDREN edited by Peter Straub

These tales are handpicked by living legend himself, Peter Straub, and are what he believes to be the best of the best of the last decade. These are not gore for gore's sake, these are truly terrifying stories, crafted with care by some of the most talented modern writers. The table of contents includes Ramsey Campbell, Kelly Link, and Glen Hirschberg, with, of course, an introduction by Straub, himself.


The "Mammoth Book of..." collection is one of my favorites. Not only do they give dozens and dozens of stories to read, they always pick the best ones! This one is, of course, contains stories about haunted houses, and each one has a fun little introduction and tidbits about the author and possible inspiration of the story. We get haunting tales by regulars like Algernon Blackwood, Charlotte Riddell, Ramsey Campbell, and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle; there is even the rare piece by Virginia Woolfe. It also has my FAVORITE story by Sheridan Le Fanu "Authentic Narrative of a Haunted House".
HAUNTED LEGENDS edited by Ellen Datlow and Nick Mamatas

These stories penned by modern writers are inspired by folklore and urban legends around the world. I wrote a review on this book that you can read here: (HAUNTED LEGENDS).

REALMS OF DARKNESS edited by Mary Danby

This anthology of "Nightmarish Tales of the Supernatural and the Macabre" stands out because it has an introduction from Count Dracula, himself--Christopher Lee. If that hasn't gotten you to add this to your Amazon shopping cart, the 50+ stories, written by the best of the best, will! Stephen King? Check. M.R. James? Check. Edgar Allan Poe, Bram Stoker, Washington Irving? Check, check and check! Plus some surprise appearances from H.G. Wells, Ronald Dahl and Agatha Christie. I must give shout-outs to my favorites Ambrose Bierce, Sheridan Le Fanu and Guy De Maupassant. And since I purchased mine at a used bookstore it came with yellowing pages and a wonderful smell - perfect!

PHOBIA edited by Charlotte Emma Gledson

I'm throwing this last one in for a bit of shameless self-promotion!! This antho was released at the beginning of September by Black Hound Digital Press. All of the stories carry the theme of (you guessed it) phobia and the psychological--or physical--effects of it. It just so happens to feature a story by lil' ole me, Marie, called "The Winter Wind". If you are interested in buying, I will provide the link here: (PHOBIA) . It is available for Kindle only and costs a mere $2.99.

*All right, that is it for now! But since I have an ever-growing collection of anthologies I promise to make another post like this in the future! Happy reading!!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

In Their Skin (2012) : Thou Shalt Not Covet...

Is there anything more frightening than a home invasion? While examples of this sub-genre of horror have been done several times before - with many of those films being top notch - there always seems to be room for more fear-inducing cinematic outings of this nature.

In previous movies like Funny Games (both the original in 1997 and the remake version of 2007), À l'intérieur (a.k.a. Inside, 2007), Ils (a.k.a. Them, 2006), and the eerily effective 2008 film The Strangers, they have scared people shitless and made many think twice about being alone in an isolated home out in the boondocks.

But there is one thing I can say about these types of films. They scare me.  After all, what is more frightening that someone breaking into your home (and your life) and wreaking havoc? It's a primal fear in all of us - being invaded, hurt, even possibly killed - in our own home.  The thought of that fractures us to our very being - because we're supposed to be safe in the comfort of our own home, right?

All of the above referenced titles have made me so uneasy - so tense - that I couldn't get them out of my head for days after I watched them. So when I was given the opportunity to see the newest home-invasion flick, the IFC Midnight production  In Their Skin, I jumped on it.

Directed by Jeremy Power Regimbal and starring Selma Blair, Josh Close, James D'Arcy, and Rachel Miner, In Their Skin starts out quiet, with subtle nuances that map out a family's grief and recent heartache. We find out early-on that the Hughes family is struggling to put their lives back together after the death of their young daughter, and have come up to their rather swanky family cottage in the woods to attempt to get back to the normalcy that is their life. We are privy to the fact that a couple's marriage is skating on thin ice and this might be their last chance at redeeming happiness.

When they are awakened very early one morning by loud noises in their yard, Mark (Close, who also co-wrote the film) is startled to find a couple and their son rooting around in their yard.  They introduce themselves as the The Sakowskis, a family "just down the lane".  They have come to the Hughes house to meet their neighbors and bring them some fire wood. Huh?? After a blundering conversation that is more awkward than neighborly, the Sakowski's have somehow invited themselves to dinner at the Hughes'.  Believe me when I say: it is obvious to anyone watching that something is just not right with the Sakowskis - which the Hughes' are about to find out. 

Bobby (D'Arcy), Jane (Miner) and their son Jared (Alex Ferris) show up for dinner and eagerly  meet Mark's wife Mary (Blair) and son Brendon (Quinn Lord).  Almost immediately Bobby begins to ask personal (verging on intimate) questions about Mark and Mary's lives.  Jane is a mousy, ungraceful stray that takes all her cues from Bobby - who scolds her on occasion for doing or saying inappropriate things. It's obvious that she doesn't think for herself for fear of heinous repercussions. The dinner is disastrous, and the tension between the two couples could be cut with a knife. The conversation turns towards all the blessings that have been bestowed upon the Hughes family due to their well-paying careers and affluent lifestyles. Jealousy rears its ugly head oh so gingerly, but it is apparent that the Sakowski's are green-eyed and anxious to live their own lives like Mark and Mary.
Soon, Jared and Brendon head upstairs when Bobby suggests they check out Brendon's room, giving the adults the opportunity to become even more uncomfortable.

Bobby spills wine on himself seemingly on purpose, and is happy to be able to take his shirt off and replace it with one of Mark's.  As if this isn't weird enough, we soon are privy to the two boys upstairs activities, which ends up including Jared holding a knife to Brendon's throat. Screaming ensues, children are comforted, and the Sakowski's are asked to leave - nicely at first, then forcefully when it seems they don't want to make their exit.

Things take a hideous turn for the worse when the family dog is let outside after the Sakowski's have left.  A gunshot is heard, and then another - and Mark urges his family to hide out in the bathroom while he checks it out. Needless to say, the next thing we know, Bobby and Co. are back and ready to take over.  And I'm being completely literal here.  In a twist that is different than most other home invasion horror movies, it appears that Bobby and Jane don't just want to invade the Hughes' home - they want to live their lives.  There is a very chilling scene just after a violent outburst in which we see Jane imitate Mary with an intentional yet uncanny creepiness that makes the bizarre couple's intent glaringly obvious.

In Their Skin isn't breaking any molds here within the home invasion sub-genre, but what it does have going for it is fine performances by all the leads. I didn't even recognize Rachel Miner right away - the last thing I'd seen her in was Penny Dreadful (2006). James D'Arcy is a British actor whose next role is as Anthony Perkins in the upcoming Hitchcock (2012).  He's got crazy down pretty good here in this film, his Bobby is so eerily bizarre, so disturbing, that it sets the stage for the entire film. And though I've never thought much about Selma Blair's acting ability, I've reconsidered and would have to say this may be some of her most honest work.

If I were to find a fault with In Their Skin, it may be the almost unbearably slow pace.  I'm all for building tension - and this film has it in spades - but there is so much quiet time here that when you do have a bit of violence it can be a bit off-putting. But the suspense is palpable and causes an anxiety that doesn't show up in most horror films. The reason for that is simple: it could happen to you. And just as The Strangers warned us before, the reason could simply be because you were home.

In Their Skin opened in limited release November 9th.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Tell Tale (2009): Hideous Hearts Need Not Apply

Naturally when I came across this title when surfing TV the other night, I knew I had to DVR it for future viewing.  I mean, it had to be some kind of re-telling of Poe's classic short story, The Tell-Tale Heart, right?   And seeing as how that is my favorite of Poe's stories, I hit record.
Having just finished watching Tell Tale, I can assure you:  this is not a "version" of the Poe tale.  They have used a few elements of the story within the film (in particular the character being able to hear heartbeats, albeit it is his own heart), and one character even says aloud the famous line: "...it is the beating of his hideous heart!" But other than that, this film is unrelated.  That being said, it really wasn't a bad movie.  It had its moments.  Apparently the film couldn't find studio funding so went straight to DVD.  I'd never heard of it until now.

Terry Bernard (Josh Lucas) is the lucky recipient of a new heart.  His transplant came on the heels of another man's murder, however, and just after surgery Terry has some strange experiences in which he can "see" his donor's last moments, including the faces of a few unknown assailants. 

As if Terry doesn't have enough to worry about, his young daughter Angela has Scleroderma (a chronic systemic autoimmune disease in which the connective tissues and internal organs harden to the consistency of bone) and apparently her mother couldn't handle that and up and left them. Bitch.
Thankfully she has a wonderful doctor (Lena Headey of '300' fame) who not only gives her superior care, but has taken an interest in Dad as well.  How convenient.

Anyway, just as Elizabeth (super-doc) and Terry are starting a relationship, Terry starts having more "memories", essentially visions or flashbacks, if you will, of his donor's death. Triggered by running into a skeevy paramedic in an alley outside the hospital, Terry has a vision of said paramedic and begins to question him to see if he knew his donor, which causes an altercation in which the paramedic tries to harm Terry with a piece of broken bottle. They struggle and the paramedic ends up with the glass in his chest, drops to the ground and promptly dies.

This situation only causes Terry's visions to amp up. He delves into the death of his donor by contacting the detective who was on call the night of the donor's death.  Detective Van Doren is wary at first, but when Terry explains his flashbacks well enough that they coincide with the details of the crime, Van Doren takes an active interest in the case again. 

Unfortunately, the further Terry investigates into the crime, the worse off his life becomes.  His burgeoning relationship with Elizabeth starts to falter, as she senses something is wrong but he won't produce any information and starts to alienate her.  His daughter has to depend on Elizabeth to take her to school and other activities because Terry is either sleeping off a flashback or in search of more clues. In fact, he often becomes almost like another person when he is in the grips of these flashbacks.

His digging lands him in deep trouble when his donor's killers finally get wise to his actions, though they have no way of knowing the real reason Terry is so curious as to his donor's last moments.  They start putting pieces together, but so does Terry - leading him to actually commit acts of murder on his donor's behalf. Obviously that's where the film takes a bit of a dark turn.

If it all seems far-fetched, that's because it is.  But Lucas's performance is compelling enough that it kept me interested and dare I say, entertained.  Lucas kind of ran the gamut of emotions within the film, and it was the most interesting when he would track down one of the men involved in his donor's murder and "take care of them".
 It was almost like he became his donor for those moments - and in fact Terry's own doctor said that he had "adopted" his donor's blood-type after the transplant.  Meaning that his blood type had switched to the type his donor had. I've never heard of this, so doubt that it can happen- even though Terry's doctor did mention that that occurrence was exceedingly rare but can happen. Hmm......

There is a bit of a surprising twist in the very last moments of the film that I wasn't expecting.  It added a little more to the ending for me and kind of put things in perspective.  All in all, I wouldn't give this an Oscar or anything, but it held my attention for an hour and a half, and you could do a lot worse.