Spence Cutler has his faults, but at least he will never condescendingly tell you he feels your pain. He doesn’t feel it and he couldn’t give a toss whether you know it or not. He is a pure sociopath with no empathy whatsoever. However, a designer drug that stimulates emotions is about to rock his world in Chris Scheuerman’s Lost Solace (trailer here), which releases today on VOD.
Cutler makes his living seducing women and then robbing them blind. After he cleans out their homes and garages, he never looks back, because he feels absolutely nothing for them. Or so that is how he used to roll. While clubbing, Cutler ingests some sort of super-charged MDMA that heightens his previously dormant emotions. Its not like he suddenly becomes Alan Alda, but whenever he is about to act like a grade-A cad, he suddenly has a panic attack.
Azaria was supposed to be his latest victim, but her churlish teen brother Jory complicates matters. He recognizes a soulless clinical psychotic when he sees one. Unfortunately, he knows he is not one himself, so he offers Cutler a multi-million-dollar deal to kill their bullying father. Of course, that triggers his chemical Jiminy Cricket, but on the other hand, maybe that would actually be doing Azaria a good turn.
Scheuerman’s screenplay is surprisingly provocative, because it starts with a highly determinant concept of psychology and then starts to challenge it. In fact, it is built on a rather original Macguffin, the red pill that cures evil bastardness. Admittedly, Scheuerman couldn’t figure out how to end the film, but he sustains the inside-out psycho-stalker premise for a good two acts.
Andrew Jenkins gets terrifically weird and freaky as Cutler. He definitely has a live-wire unpredictability that is essential to the film. Likewise, Charlie Kerr is almost, but not quite, excessively over-the-top twitchy as Jory. There is a bit of a disconnect between the super-model looking Melissa Roxburgh and the shy wall-flower character of Azaria, but she plays the part with enough vulnerable naivete to sell it.
As a psychological thriller with light science fiction elements, Solace avoids or inverts a lot of genre clichés. Even when the third act starts to founder, you have to give Scheuerman and Jenkins credit for trying something different. Recommended as an above-average VOD movie from Canada, Lost Solace releases today on digital platforms.