Indiewire film review by David D’Arcy | April 22, 2012 3:07 PM
If you’re out in the woods in a mansion, don’t open the door to strangers. If you do, and you happen to be in a movie, prepare to be at the wrong end of a shotgun.
“Replicas,” the feature debut of Jeremy Power Regimbal, is a thriller about a family that is held hostage in its own dream house. Selma Blair and Josh Close play a rich couple, Mark and Mary Hughes, who just lost a daughter in a car accident. They take to the country with their son to recover. What seemed like a good idea turns into horror in Close’s script. Early one morning another couple (James D’Arcy and Rachel Miner) with their son (Alex Ferris) arrives, bringing wood and asking uncomfortable questions. Things get worse when the strange couple’s son puts a knife to the other boy’s throat. Soon, the rich couple’s dog is shot, they’re held at gunpoint, and torture tightens the screws.
It sounds a bit like “Straw Dogs,” even more like “Funny Games” by Michael Haneke, but if you get beyond the quoting, and there are volumes of it, you’ll see surprising emotional range from Selma Blair, and an unsettling jittery fury from James D’Arcy (no relation), as a psychopath who decides that he is the real Mark Hughes. Both Blair and D’Arcy will get praise for these roles.
Also watch for the new couple’s son, Jared, who seems to have assimilated his father’s appetite for torture, seasoned with a trenchant comment. Remember that Alex Ferris played the terminally violent young Kevin in “We Need To Talk About Kevin,” which is the most unsettling film in years. Does his agent know that there’s a liability in playing the juvenile psychopath of the week? Did that kid with the banjo in “Deliverance” (another possible inspiration for ‘Replicas’) ever get another job in a movie?