Directed by Ben Samuels [Other horror films: 6:15 (2015)]
Despite quite an interesting premise, a strong performance by Robert Englund, and pretty solid atmosphere, ultimately, Kantemir isn’t able to fully reach for the heights it aimed for.
The setting is good, an old fashioned mansion, which assists with the dreary atmosphere. Because the movie battles with ideas such as what reality really is, it adds sort of a creepy layer to the film.
In New Nightmare, toward the end, Heather Langenkamp (playing herself, of course), goes back to her house, only to run into John Saxon, who calls her ‘Nancy.’ That scene was always damn creepy to me, and that’s the type of thing that happens a lot in this movie, as these actors go in and out of character, losing their grip on reality. It’s done well, but it’s not enough to fully hold my interest.
As I said, Englund has a strong performance here (and to be honest, without his presence, not only would this not be even a decent movie, I probably wouldn’t have bothered watching it). He does a good job as the lead character (and I can’t say I’ve seen many films with him as the star), and toward the end, when everything’s unraveling, he really shows off his abilities. Daniel Gadi was almost hilariously serious and contemplative in his role, and didn’t really come off feeling like a real person. Diane Cary and Justine Griffiths add to the film also, though I don’t really think either is particularly noteworthy.
The idea behind the film, like I alluded to, was interesting. But also like I said, it wasn’t enough to fully captivate me. After forty minutes in, it’s not that hard to guess where the movie’s going, and it pretty much travels the expected path (including the entirely obvious conclusion).
Were it not for a somewhat stylish feel, solid atmosphere, and Englund’s presence, Kantemir probably wouldn’t be worth much. As it is, it’s not an amazing movie, or even that good. However, I think it’s palatable, at least for a single viewing, and if you’re an Englund fan, and don’t mind movies that are a bit more meta (Resolution, or Berberian Sound Studio), you might get more out of this than I did.