Beyond actually isn’t too bad of a film. Clocking in at a mere 90-minutes (less without the credits), it has a good flow and the performance from Jon Voight probably is his best in quite a while as he seemed far more measured, avoiding mugging for the camera and instead seemingly provide his character with true emotions. The biggest drawback is the mixing of genres and the movie…
Genre(s): Crime, Suspense, Supernatural
Anchor Bay | PG13 – 90 min. – $24.99 | May 22, 2012
Directed by: Josef Rusnak
Writer(s): Greg Gieras (written by)
Cast: Jon Voight, Dermot Mulroney, Teri Polo, Julian Morris, Skyler Shaye, Ben Crowley
Number of Discs: 1
Slip Cover? No
Audio: English (Dolby TrueHD 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 2.40
Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish
Disc Size: 20.5 GB
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 3.0/5
It’s a tricky thing when movies try to mix genres and in the case of Beyond, a direct-to-video release, they take crime-suspense and try to interject supernatural elements which, while a unique combination, never quite gels and it seems the filmmakers couldn’t choose which genre they wanted it to be in.
The story focuses on Detective Jon Koski (JON VOIGHT), working in Anchorage, Alaska and specializes in tracking missing children and taking down the perpetrator. In fact, the movie opens with such apprehension to which Koski bolding walks up to the wounded criminal and shoots him again. Back at the police station, he learns from the police chief, Jack Musker (DERMOT MULRONEY) that the perp’s family plans on suing but he has his back especially since Koski is only a few months away from retirement.
We next meet the Noble family: father Jim (BEN CROWLEY), mother Sarah (TERI POLO) and young daughter, Amy (CHLOE LESSLIE). They appear to be a happy family but not all is as it appears… Anyway, after tucking in Amy for bedtime, Sarah goes to bed when both she and Jim awaken to a loud noise; rushing to investigate, they discover Amy is missing. It turns out Sarah is the sister of Chief Musker who calls in Koski to head the investigation.
Koski begins suspecting everybody, interviewing anyone who could be involved from the parents to Amy’s babysitter, Megan (SKYLER SHAYE), who has a suspect alibi when Koski learns she wasn’t where she said she was when her parents had called earlier. Also getting involved in the investigation is a paranormal psychic named Farley Connors (JULIAN MORRIS) who is dating Megan and offers to help, quickly getting vibes and visions from Amy’s room. Of course, Koski is none too pleased and because of Farley’s involvement, he places him near the top of the suspect list.
There’s little suspense in Beyond and instead relies on strange storytelling going from a more grounded crime-mystery to the supernatural realm as somebody is communicating from, well, beyond seemingly helping the investigation along. Personally, I’m not that into movies involving the supernatural and while it’s OK in this film, there are still a few clunky moments when it stands out, as if coming from a different movie (one scene has Farley, Sarah and Megan communicating with the dead via a Ouija Board).
Despite the shortcomings in mixing the two genres, however, thanks to a surprisingly subdued performance from Jon Voight, who seemed a tad too old to still be a lead detective, though it is Alaska so who knows… Anyway, while it’s not an amazing job Voight did, he certainly keeps the energy up even when the story slows down a bit.
In regards to the supporting cast, they all turn in OK performances but nothing outstanding or special. For her part, Teri Polo was decent as the grief-stricken mother, Julian Morris provides just enough to make viewers suspect his involvement and Dermot Mulroney in a limited part, as always, gives a fine, if not understated, performance.
Beyond was written by Gregory Geras and directed by Josef Rusnak who probably is best know, if anything, for the 1999 sci-fi film The Thirteenth Floor along with The Art of War II, a movie I highly doubt anyone except for Wesley Snipes was clamoring for. For this movie, Rusnak aptly helms this I suppose and made the best of a script that needed some retooling. Still, he displays some nice atmosphere.
Overall, Beyond is an effective enough movie, just nothing special and fairly predictable. Where the movie flounders is with the mixture of the crime-suspense genre with supernatural, neither of which really meld well together. If there’s any reason to see this movie, it’d probably be for Jon Voight and some excellent director of photography work from Eric Maddison, showing off the amazing Alaskan Landscape (it was filmed on location).
SPECIAL FEATURES – 0/5
Outside of some previews for other titles, there are no features included on this release.
VIDEO – 3.75/5
For a direct-to-video release, I have to admit that Beyond doesn’t look too bad. The movie is presented with an expansive 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio taking advantage of some Alaskan beauty not seen probably since Christopher Nolan’s Insomnia back in 2002. The 1080p high-def transfer looks to be void of any major flaws and while the picture lacks the clarity seen in other newer releases, and even some catalogues, it’s not too bad.
AUDIO – 4.5/5
Most impressive is the thumping Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track which showcases Mario Grigordy’s haunting score that provides the most depth for this movie. The dialogue levels seem to be decent and with clarity coming from the front speaker while the few action/suspense scenes expand outward to the front and rear channels as well.
OVERALL – 2./5
On the whole, Beyond actually isn’t too bad of a film. Clocking in at a mere 90-minutes (less without the credits), it has a good flow and the performance from Jon Voight probably is his best in quite a while as he seemed far more measured, avoiding mugging for the camera and instead seemingly provide his character with true emotions. The biggest drawback is the mixing of genres and the movie probably would’ve benefited more without the supernatural element but even so, it’s worth checking out and giving a rental.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2. Please note, these do contain spoilers.