When going the low budget horror route, sometimes going surreal is a solid idea. You don’t need big casts or extensive locations, and as long as you have a defined visual style, you can make an effective movie. However, if you don’t succeed in conveying your intended message, you can get in that muddled zone where the intent isn’t clear, and it veers into perceived randomness for its own sake. This is kind of what happens with Stitch. Now, this isn’t to say that Stitch isn’t wholly without merit. It’s generally a well shot and well acted movie, and to its credit, it has some pretty unsettling moments. However, there are a few issues with the final product that keep it from getting to that next level.
Stitch is the story of a married couple, played by Edward Furlong and Shawna Waldron, who go into the desert with some friends to partake in some sort of new age quasi spiritual ceremony to help them come to terms with their grief over their recently deceased daughter. You probably remember Furlong from Terminator 2, or depending on how deep in the low budget horror pool you swim, from a number of pretty terrible movies where he doesn’t really shine as an actor. Waldron is best known as Becky “Icebox” O’Shea in the 90’s family football flick, Little Giants. So right off the bat, this movie does manage some degree of name recognition, and both leads actually do pretty well. Waldron in particular comes off like a star in this. Furlong probably does his best work here, too.
So, the 4 friends perform this ceremony, and seem to awaken an ancient evil, leading to the apparent biblical end of days. They try getting out of the desert, but since it’s a bit Apocalyptic out, they find themselves stranded in the house they were staying in. The claustrophobic atmosphere builds, as one of the friends is attacked, and has wounds that are immediately stitched up. The paranoia leads to some pretty heavy secrets being revealed between the four of them, and the struggle to survive is made difficult by increasingly difficult twists and turns as they question who they can trust.
I don’t want to go into spoilers about a movie that many readers haven’t had a chance to see yet, so I’ll leave the plot synopsis with that. There are definitely good things going on here. As I mentioned, the performances are for the most part solid. The movie looks good, and is well paced. It tries to tackle some pretty heavy issues with admittedly mixed results, but the ambition is certainly apparent.
That being said, this movie is not without its flaws. Some of the effects are pretty laughable. This gets a partial pass, as this is a small production on a limited budget, but I don’t think it’s nitpicky to suggest if you can’t afford convincing green screen effects of an apocalyptic landscape, maybe find another way to do it, or work around it in the script. This is a case of this project’s ambition working against it. Also, Some of the make up effects look distracting. The biggest problem this movie has however, is an overall lack of focus. It just seems like a collection of unrelated spooky things that happen, where you’re hoping that everything gets tied together at the end. Unfortunately, the ending of this film only serves to further complicate matters, as it creates more problems than it solves. For a movie that is all about set up, the final pay off comes off as somewhat of a cop out.
In the end, this is a hard one to determine if it’s worth a recommendation. I guess if you’re into claustrophobic supernatural suspense, or a bona fide Furlong fan, this is a movie worth seeing. If not, it might not be your thing. It’s not a laughably bad movie by any means, but it isn’t without its problems, and fails to live up to the heights set by its own ambition.