Leaving his home town of Texas behind drummer and teacher Andy (Vincent Van Horn) heads to LA with nothing but a box of possessions and his dog, ready to start a new life. Finding it hard at first Andy lucks out when he meets Sam (Dave and Hawaii Five-0 star Christine Ko) in a dive bar and taking a Ryde back to her house with over friendly driver Roger (Michael Lee Joplin) the pair instantly hit it off.
Although ignored by his old friends and harassed by his mother Andy’s new life starts to turn around as he gets a tutoring job and his relationship with Sam develops with the pair becoming inseparable. Randomly bumping into Roger one day Andy agrees to go drinking with him eager to expand his very limited pool of pals in LA past his pooch.
Although Andy enjoys their evening out Roger comes across rather intensely contacting him the very next day insisting they hang out. As the texts roll in Andy decides to ghost the needy individual ignoring him to spend more time with Sam.
Unfortunately Roger is not someone who will stand to be ignored and Andy’s innocent if cowardly action incites rage in the unhinged loner.
Deciding Andy needs to be taught a lesson in friendship Roger sets out on an insidious campaign to destroy the man’s life taking apart every element slowly but surely until he has driven his unwitting target to distraction and bewilderment at what he did wrong and how he can possibly stop it.
Premiering at this year’s FrightFest, Blinders is a brilliantly crafted character study that truly demonstrates how easy it is in our modern society to totally ruin another person’s life.
Andy’s small slight in snubbing Rogers repetitive and the unwanted advances sends the psychopath over the edge on a path of vicious vengeance but the initial action is something every one of us is not only capable if but has done on many occasions.
Director Tyler Savage, who co-scripted Blinders with frequent collaborator Dash Hawkins, injects originality into the look of his film by frequently using length-ways phone footage from the opening Instagram story that details Andy’s departure to displaying Roger’s cyber stalking later on. This not only grounds the tale in the modern world but displays our dependence on our devices detailing how they can so easily be turned against us.
The central idea that ‘you never really know a person’ permeates the entire film not only enhancing the reality of the situation but increasing the anxiety and fear the audience feels as they watch Roger obsessively take over and ruin Andy’s very existence. Most scary of all is how easy it all is, and how quickly things escalate from simple online observation to much more aggressive and invasive actions.
The three main leads are equally excellent each sharing centre stage throughout the movie. In playing Andy, Vincent Van Horn reacts exactly as any of us would given the messed-up situation he innocently finds himself in. His shock and powerlessness to what is unfolding before him is palpable and well performed.
As the deranged Roger, Michael Lee Joplin injects just the right amount of menace and maniacal energy to keep the character from becoming a cliché and Christine Ko shines as Sam hanging in the centre of the story while the action seemingly evolves around her.
With a great script and first class performances Blinders is a slow burn that increases in its intensity till the full on raging firestorm that is its finale.
Simple, shocking and extremely effective this is a brutal tale for our times laying bare how easy it is for any of us to unknowingly enter the orbit of a maniac.
Read Five Frightfest facts from Tyler Savage director of Blinders HERE