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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Imprint
Imprint
MTI // PG-13 // February 10, 2009
List Price: $24.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Justin Felix | posted May 11, 2009 | E-mail the Author
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C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
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P R I N T
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The Movie:

[Reviewer's Note: MTI sent DVD Talk a screener copy of Imprint for review. It's one of those blue-hued discs that suggests DVD-Rom and arrived in a cardboard sleeve. The menu system makes clear that it's a screener, and only two options exist: one to play the movie and the other to see the trailer. As this is clearly not the final product, only the movie will be reviewed here. The Video, Sound, and Extras sections will, out of necessity, be left empty.]

FILMED ENTIRELY ON LOCATION IN SOUTH DAKOTA

So reads the final line of the end credits for Imprint, a low budget horror movie with a primarily Native American cast recently released on home video by MTI. And boy, does this movie take full advantage of natural South Dakotan landscapes. At times, Imprint is accentuated by rolling hills and herds of buffalo, placing the melodramatic goings-on against a backdrop of breathtaking vistas. This is one of those movies where the setting is the best thing going for it.

This isn't to say that Imprint is otherwise a bad movie, however. For a production that clearly had a limited budget, it's surprisingly engaging, especially the final hour of its runtime. The movie has an interesting heroine and an involving plot.

This heroine is named Shayla Stonefeather (Tonantzin Carmelo), and she's a successful prosecutor involved in a controversial case where a young man is found guilty of murder. Stonefeather has a lot on her mind. The young man is later murdered, her father is dying, her brother is missing, and her white boyfriend, who is also a prosecutor, is considering a run for the Senate. Stonefeather returns to her parents' home to help care for her invalid father - and perhaps escape everything else. However, there are some in her home community who are none-too-pleased about what she has done. Her car is vandalized with the slur "apple" (red on the outside but white on the inside). She's reunited with her childhood Romeo, Tom (Michael Spears), who is now a police officer. And, to top things off, she's starting to hear things and see visions.

So yes, Shayla's life is rather complicated, and so too is this movie - in a good way. The script, credited to Keith Davenport and director Michael Linn, is ambitious, with a lot of plot points introduced and resolved satisfactorily by the movie's conclusion. Horrorgoers should be made aware that Imprint is a relatively tame movie when it comes to violence and bloodletting. However, there are some successful jump scares and eerie moments tossed in throughout.

My major criticism of this movie would be its heavyhanded love triangle. Shayla's boyfriend Jonathan (Cory Brusseau) is almost ridiculously stereotyped in this movie to favor the heroic Tom. Jonathan is white, cleancut, and wears a business suit, which, of course, equals "evil" in the politics of this movie. Tom, on the other hand, is almost too accommodating toward Shayla, who hasn't been in town much for years. Tragically for the film, this means that some of the "surprise" twists at the end are telegraphed far too much earlier on. For a movie that otherwise presents intelligent and compelling characters, Jonathan seems to fall curiously flat and artificial. (And some insensitive comments he makes to Shayla will have you rolling your eyes and wondering why on Earth she's dating him.)

Despite this weakly-conceived character, Imprint is a good example of low budget filmmaking. It's a little different from standard Hollywood fare - and favors character and setting over blood and guts. Recommended.

The DVD

Video:

See the opening paragraph of this review

Sound:

See the opening paragraph of this review

Extras:

See the opening paragraph of this review

Final Thoughts:

Imprint is a compelling low budget horror movie with an interesting Native American heroine and beautiful shots of South Dakotan landscapes. The love triangle is a bit heavyhanded, especially with an "evil white guy" stereotype, but the film's strengths overshadow the melodrama. Recommended.

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