Shadows in Mind 2019
Thriller | 1 June 2019 (USA)
An employee at a LGBT crisis hotline receives a disturbing phone call from a man who is claiming he is going to commit suicide after he has told his story of how he decided to take such drastic action.
Crisis Hotline is a mostly gripping and impressively delivered thriller that is only dragged down by its questionable screenwriting during several scenes. Crisis Hotline follows Simon (Corey Jackson), a recently trained hotline operator who takes a job at a Silicon Valley LGBT crisis center. During his shift, he is mainly taking calls that are next exactly deemed a crisis. However, it doesn’t take long until Simon receives a call from Danny (Christian Gabriel) who insists he is going to kill himself once his story is finished. His reason for doing this is unfolding through a series of flashbacks in this slow burning thriller that is masterful at building suspense and intrigue throughout the movie.
The performances from each member of the cast is superb – Jackson and Gabriel are clear stand-outs with well-delivered lines and realistic portrayals. The supporting actors of Pano Tsaklas who plays Danny’s boyfriend Kyle, August Browning and Christopher Fung who play Lance and Christian respectively, and Mike Mizwicki who plays Curtis are all equally as memorable and capable of heightening the scenes they are a a part of. However, as mentioned above, during some sequences the script was bland and questionable at best. In some instances, the cast – the biggest culprit being Gabriel – lacked any form of personality which resulted in them clearly reading off the script and ruined the realism of the conversations taking place. Additionally, there were several cases throughout the film where Danny enters a room and overuses the saying, “this … is amazing” – further spoiling the realism and seriousness of the topics the film is conveying.
On the production side of the film, Schwab has created a well-structured and polished thriller. The cinematography is outstanding with the use of a range of close ups, wide shots and the clever manipulation of shadows/lighting to establish a chilling and captivating atmosphere from beginning to end. The overlaying of audio between the two timelines is brilliantly executed to create an unforgettable final sequence.
In the end, Crisis Hotline is a masterful thriller with a universally superb cast despite the minor problems with the script and its delivery in several instances. The film successfully explores the topics of love, power and deception within a well-delivered and enthralling story that is sure to keep you on the edge of your seat throughout.
Director: Mark Schwab
Writer: Mark Schwab (screenplay)
Stars: Pano Tsaklas, Corey Jackson, August Browning
Release Date: 1 June 2019 (USA)
Also Known As: Crisis Hotline