Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Between Worlds: Get Your Nic Cage On

Nature abhors a vacuum and so does the spirit world. A tough single mom tries to use her John Edward-Crossing Over-style powers to save her daughter, but her body is left vacant far too long in Maria Pulera’s Between Worlds (trailer here), which opens this Friday in New York.

Poor Joe Majors thinks he is a good Samaritan when he saves Julie from strangulation in a truck stop bathroom, but she is rather annoyed by his intervention. However, she starts to appreciate him when he drives her to the hospital and keeps her company while she waits for her teen daughter Billie to recover consciousness. It turns out Julie can visit the spirit realm, or whatever the heck, while in the throes of a near death experience. She was trying to guide Billie back to her body, but she will need another throttling from Majors when Billie takes another turn for the worse.

Julie is grateful to the down-on-his-luck trucker and they have good chemistry, so he more or less moves in on Billie’s first day home. It is a good arrangement for Majors, but he is freaked out by Billie, who seems convinced she and Majors share some long intimate history together. In fact, she is alarmingly forward with him, but maybe it isn’t so creepy, since she is possessed by the spirit of his late wife. No, it is definitely still creepy, in an especially sleazy kind of way.

Forget about the supernatural and sexual content here. The real attraction here is a massive Nic Cage nostril-flaring freak-out. Think Mandy crossed with Wicker Man, raised to the power of ten. There is even a little sad-eyed Hubert McDunnough from Raising Arizona thrown in for good measure.

Franka Potente (from Run Lola Run) is surprisingly down-to-earth and engaging as Mother Julie, but Penelope Mitchell is uncomfortably Lolita-ish as Billie. Seriously, it is just wrong. Having Nic Cage doing his thing as Majors just adds to the awkwardness. There simply are no words to adequately describe the ickiness of Majors’ make-out sessions with Billie (or rather his wife, in Billie’s body). Honestly, it will also make you rather queasy to watch his sex scenes with her mom as well.

Let’s face it, you should just fast-forward to the Cage meltdown (which is what everyone wants to see in the first place), or forget this film entirely. He implodes with a bang, but as a work of cinema, Between Worlds is no Mandy. For Nic Cage, the adventure continues, but halfway serious horror fans can safely skip Between Worlds when it opens this Friday (12/21) in New York, at the Cinema Village.