Nightstream: Landlocked (2021)

Director: Paul Owens

Running Time: 75 Minutes

Starring: Mason Owens, Jeffrey Owens, Seth Owens, Paul Owens, Jane Gale, Keith Owens, Gabby Saia

Opening his feature debut with family videos, writer/director/co-star Paul Owens lays bare the important set-up. Talking over the videos is a father (Jeffrey Owens), declaring his intentions for the family home to be demolished one year after his death. The sons are allowed to take whatever they wish from the house before it's destroyed, which is where we meet Mason (Mason Owens).

While looking around the property and reminiscing with his brothers, Mason discovers a video-camera which offers glimpses into the past. This gateway into past memories is a wonderful gift at first, yet becomes a rabbit hole in which the nostalgic son loses himself down. The story captures the destructive nature of nostalgia, as the desire to return to a simpler time becomes all-consuming and unhealthy.

Despite a lean runtime, the slow pacing makes the feature resemble a dragged out short film. There's lofty ambitions worth commending, although their effectiveness is lessened by the dull manner they're presented in. Inserted mid-way through are the makings of chilling imagery, yet they unfortunately miss the mark and feel over far too soon. By the end, the scariest thing is the massive dripping snot when Mason's crying.

Landlocked played at the Nightstream festival. If you fancy watching the film, it can be purchased On Demand.