Review: POD

2015/08/24 22:15:19 +00:00 | Heather Wixson

A chilling and unexpected claustrophobic thriller, Mickey Keating’s Pod is a highly effective tale of terror that does a nice job of setting an unsettling tone from the onset and very rarely lets up until the film’s conclusion. Pod uses its micro-budget to its advantage and rises above some uneven performances to deliver a story that feels akin to a lost episode of The X-Files, filled with uncertainty, conspiracy and real emotional stakes.

Pod follows siblings Ed (Dean Cates) and Lyla (Lauren Ashley Carter) who head out to their family cabin in the middle of nowhere to check on their unstable brother Martin (Brian Morvant), a war vet who has been plagued with mental illness issues since coming home some years prior. When they arrive, they find their beloved vacation home in shambles, windows and doors covered to keep out the world around, and Martin an emotional wreck that keeps rambling about military experiments and a ‘pod’ he’s captured in the basement that proves he’s not crazy after all. Unsure of how to deal with Martin and his possible delusions, Ed and Lyla do some investigating of their own and uncover a truth so monumental that neither are prepared to deal with just what’s really been happening with their brother. And what starts off as an intervention evolves into a life-changing night, one filled with consequences and harsh realities for the trio.

A movie that embraces the ‘less is more’ mentality and does so rather successfully, Pod is a creepy exercise in psychological fear that for the most part works pretty well. As mentioned, it’s the performances in Pod that feel a bit uneven and rushed at times, with poor Carter as Lyla left to shriek her way through almost the entire second half of the film. That being said, Keating’s story is slick and effective, and both the production design and cinematography add a lot to the project overall. The latter, the work of DP Mac Fisken, does a fantastic job of immersing and eventually isolating audiences in the film’s wintry landscapes and then playing with our minds once we’re inside of the cabin, never allowing us the chance to see just who or what might be creeping around the house’s darkened corners.

If you can look beyond the performances, there’s some really fun stuff going on with Pod and it’s kind of shame that the film isn’t just a little bit longer because it feels like Keating and his story both hit their stride during the third act, and then it’s all over just when things are getting really good. As a whole though, Pod exemplifies great indie filmmaking with Keating using his resources to their fullest and also ambitiously giving us some cool practical creature effects to boot. Pod may not be perfect but it is perfectly entertaining nonetheless and the intimately crafted genre-blending thriller is an all-around admirable effort from Keating, proving him to be a talent for horror fans to keep an eye on in the future.

Movie Score: 3/5

  • Heather Wixson
    About the Author - Heather Wixson

    Heather A. Wixson was born and raised in the Chicago suburbs, until she followed her dreams and moved to Los Angeles in 2009. A 14-year veteran in the world of horror entertainment journalism, Wixson fell in love with genre films at a very early age, and has spent more than a decade as a writer and supporter of preserving the history of horror and science fiction cinema. Throughout her career, Wixson has contributed to several notable websites, including Fangoria, Dread Central, Terror Tube, and FEARnet, and she currently serves as the Managing Editor for Daily Dead, which has been her home since 2013. She's also written for both Fangoria Magazine & ReMind Magazine, and her latest book project, Monsters, Makeup & Effects: Volume One will be released on October 20, 2021.