25 January 2017 | Coventry
Surely Danielle Harris can do a lot better
Back when I was around 10-12 years old, in the glorious early nineties that was, I had two celebrity crushes. The first one was Christina Ricci, based on her inimitably stoic performance of Wednesday in "The Addams Family", and the other one was Danielle Harris, based on her appearances in the "Halloween" sequels 4 and 5 (which I actually wasn't yet allowed to watch) and the Bruce Willis vehicle "The Last Boy Scout". I was completely mad about little Jamie Lloyd in her eerie jester costume, and that cherubic yet mysterious face always remained printed in my pre-adolescent mind. Then we didn't hear or see anything remarkable from Danielle Harris for about fifteen years, until she made a phenomenal horror comeback in Rob Zombie's "Halloween"; ironically enough the remake of the original of the franchise that made her famous. I'm very happy that, since 2007, Danielle became a very frequent and reliable horror leading lady/scream queen. She starred in a handful of really entertaining movies ("Hatchet II", "Stake Land", "Blood Night") as well as in a couple of disappointing duds ("Shiver", "Camp Dread"), and in 2012 she brought her career to the next level by making her debut as a director with "Among Friends". In all honesty I have to say that, based on the plot description or encountered reviews, I probably never would have bothered to seek out this film if it weren't for the fact that Danielle Harris directed it. "Among Friends" objectively looks and sounds like a mundane and conventional slasher, and it really is just that. No wait, I'm mistaken
In a mundane and conventional slasher, most of the characters still get killed in a gory fashion, whereas in "Among Friends" the vast majority of them only get wounded. A six-headed group of friends meet up at Bernadette's house, in a fancy rented limousine, supposedly for a murder-themed game night. Before they are properly installed, though, it turns out that their hostess has a much more sadistic and realistic game in mind. They all wake up tied up and semi-paralyzed around the dinner table and get confronted with a whole lot of intrigues, hidden affairs, betrayal and dark secrets. There's a little bit of torture and mayhem to enjoy (for example half of a scalping), but the blood hunger of rabid horror junkies will definitely not be stilled. Most of the film is uninteresting drivel and bickering between unlikable characters you don't care for anyway. Danielle Harris' direction is competent, but she doesn't really put her mark. The performances vary from average to poor, and the proudly announced cameo appearances (Michael Biehn, Danielle Harris herself) are barely noticeable. Only Kane Hodder has a remotely fun supportive part as the limo driver. I hope Harris will take another shot at directing a horror movie, this time with a slightly better script.