An employee of an LGBT crisis hotline receives a disturbing call from a man who states he is about to commit suicide in the thriller Shadows in Mind from director Mark Schwab.
Offering your services as a good listener can sometimes be a mundane experience. Take Simon for instance. He works for an LGBT crisis hotline company but his time is mostly taken up by prank callers and people who are not in the middle of an emergency. He even has Solitaire running on his computer to help speed up the shift. Yet, a call comes through that disturbs Simon (Corey Jackson) enough to warrant his full attention. A man called Danny (Christian Gabriel) insists he has taken many pills and he will take even more before the night is done and his story is over. A story he relays back to Simon and one that we get to witness through the use of flashbacks.
The story in question revolves around Danny’s relationship with a new boyfriend called Kyle (Pano Tsaklas). Kyle seems perfect at the start – a successful and charming man who seems to care for Danny a great deal – but his dark and secretive life is soon revealed, much to the aghast of Danny. As the story further develops, so does the pacing and tempo, ultimately leading to a wicked last twenty minutes and excellent pay-off.
Both Corey Jackson and Christian Gabriel do very well as the film’s leads – bouncing off each other to great effect and using subtle acting to portray the characters in a realistic and haunting manner. Which is exactly what is needed in such a movie. There is no scene chewing here, thankfully. They are also surrounded by some very capable actors in supporting roles, like the aforementioned Tsaklas and Mike Mizwicki.
As for the production side of things, Schwab has crafted a well-oiled machine. It looks polished throughout and isn’t complicated with unnecessary editing and an overabundance of shots. Things are kept rather simple with scenes being made up of wides and a few close-ups for coverage. It suits the slow-burning thriller well, far better than going all Gung-ho Michael Bay style. The audio side is well done too, with no issues of note.
Mark Schwab has been mentioned many times on Screen Critix now. We have had the privilege of reviewing many films that he has either directed himself or been involved in (producer, actor etc), including S.E.R.P, The Davenport Vampire, Palindrome and Thin Places to name but a few. It is clear that, as a film-maker, he is ever improving and even though we fully enjoyed Shadows in Mind, we know for certain that the Californian will continue to hone his craft and better himself and his movies after each production. It’s an honor to bear witness to the journey.
Shadows in Mind is an excellent thriller that is more subtle than in-your-face, yet it’s captivating enough to demand repeated viewings.