This movie is very important for two women who are struggling to make a name for themselves in the Hollywood industry. On the one hand, Lori Evans Taylor signs the script for her own directorial debut before writing the ‘Final Destination 6’ reboot. With a greater focus after leading the restart of the ‘Scream’ saga, Melissa Barrera debuts as a producer while she stars in absolutely all the shots of ‘Absolute rest’. Both are very talented and have a promising near future ahead of them. When arrive, this film will remain as that typical isolated and irregular experiment of trying to stand out in commercial cinema alone Beyond franchises.
The drama and terror unleash very naturally with the successful approach of locking Julie (Melissa Barrera) in bed during her last 2 months of pregnancy. As she will demonstrate in her next film with Jordana Brewster (‘Cellar Door’), the director finds her voice by foregrounding the traumas of motherhood and its consequences.
With necessarily explicit language, it gives voice to this reality that is more common and taboo than it seems about pregnancy complications. Even expanding the picture, postpartum depression and the roles in the couple are reflected in a very realistic way. All these themes are raised in the characters, both in their script and in their performances. But both aspects fail and the director fails to elevate the film with such a promising voice.
This interesting argument materializes in a telefilm script with the most hackneyed of haunted house and pregnant movies (Who moves to a house in the country away from his family with a few months to go for a risky birth and raise your first baby?). Melissa Barrera also fails to make the film transcend with her typical deranged girl without any evolution. She is the one who shines the most thanks to having the camera with her for all the footage but, although she remembers that she is talented, she does not present the grays of ‘Scream VI’ or the strength of ‘In a New York neighborhood’. Her on-screen husband (Guy Burnet) fully embraces the hateful cliché of the selfish couple in horror plot with some rather embarrassing outbursts and dialogue. In the end, the only character with development and a bit of nuance is Edie Inksetter’s caretaker (‘Spiral: Saw’).
There is neither drama nor terror
This failed drama can only be glimpsed at times in an equally irregular thriller packaging that wants to emulate ‘Paranormal Activity’. The countdown to childbirth with nights of phenomena in crescendo was a good trigger but the evolution is not achieved at all. The rhythm becomes contradictory with very crazy scenes that immediately give way to the classic happy routine and then back to hell. But the worst thing is that this development of barely an hour and a half feels bland, without any fact of interest or notable phenomenon that terrifies or reveals something. It only focuses on stating obvious things that are revealed very late and, when they arrive, they are not surprising.
The wait until that obvious backstory becomes as boring as the absolute rest of the protagonist. Even the few elements of the house that the director gets to play with are heralded from the start. You could only talk about terror with the two or three free volume increases that they even feel unnecessary as they are giving more space to the maternal drama. This unbalanced scale is forgotten at the end of all that drama and surrenders (finally) unreservedly to terror. For better and for worse.
In the end, another movie begins
At last comes the traditional final firecracker of every horror movie. Suddenly, the film loses its hair and radically changes its tone, as if the director had passed the baton to the producers of ‘Scream’ also involved here. That final section is the only memorable part of the film, although it does not fit with all of the above. by breaking that iron realism about the effects of motherhood in the mother’s mind.
‘Absolute Rest’ enters a fun and surreal series B in its final confrontation where Melissa Barrera finally remembers the scream queen that she can be. And she finally makes herself entertained even with laughter, even if it’s based on embarrassment. Without any kind of shame, they sneak in some moments before which it is better to turn off your brain and go with zero expectations to be able to enjoy a little. Fortunately, the film ends on a note of daring in the formal and coherent psychological resolution in the narrative. But all the previous development is not that it is easily forgettable, it is that there is nothing to remember directly.
The best: The brief shamelessness at the end. That they have given this adult protagonist opportunity to Melissa Barrera.
Worst: The complete lack of rhythm in the drama and terror, the ridiculous character of the husband.