|The Upper Hand
Three roommates receive a mysterious item in the mail. Driven by curiosity, they embark on a journey that will alter their lives forever.
LAZER FILM PRODUCTIONS
"The Upper Hand"
Starring BRIAN DIEDERICH SCOTT FORD JOSH JACOBSON With JILL KOCALIS
ROBERTO KAWATA ROBERT MASSI Music by JASON GOLDMAN Edited by DEREK FREY
Directed, Written and Produced by DEREK FREY & AARON TANKENSON
REVIEW OF "THE UPPER HAND" FROM OPENFILM
"It's got one helluva trick up its sleeve."
Categories: Drama Experimental Horror
Review by: MiamiMovieCritic
eviewer:4 out of 5 Stars
About half of this movie is in no way believable. Get this: It's about three college-age slackers who find a secret map and go digging for treasure. That scenario might have worked if the guys were in junior high. You could imagine Will Holloway and Jim Nightshade (from Ray Bradbury's Something Wicked This Way Comes) taking such a map seriously, or maybe the Goonies. But three guys in their twenties? I don't think so.
Still, don't write this movie off too early. It's got one helluva trick up its sleeve. Following an enigmatic dream sequence, the story proper begins with three roommates (played by Brian Diederich, Scott Ford and Josh Jacobson) hanging out on a boring Saturday. The mail arrives (delivered by the surprisingly hot Jill Kocalis), including a mysterious treasure map. There's also a note explaining that the treasure must be found by tonight. Whatever, just go with it.
Where the movie starts to get good is when the treasure-hunters get to the beach where the treasure is supposed to be buried. One of them claims that the beach is haunted, and tells a hokey story about a Chinese fisherman who laid a curse on the place sometime in the 1800s. This turns out to be pure misdirection, like the long subplot in What Lies Beneath where Michelle Pfeiffer thinks her neighbor has murdered his wife. The twist at the end of The Upper Hand turns out to be very clever. I'm guessing this was the initial idea that Derek Frey and Aaron Tankenson had when they sat down to write this story. I won't spoil it, but let's just say that if you wanted to cover up a crime, this would be a fairly ingenious way to do it. Provided, of course, that the people you were trying to dupe were all 12-year-olds.
Starring Brian Diederich
Special appearance by Jill Kocalis
BEHIND "THE UPPER HAND" PHOTO GALLERY
Voice over by Megan Webb Fera and Kristen Frey