EVERLASTING — Review by Susan Granger

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Writer/director Anthony Stabley has devised a different twist on the traditional horror film, combining his ominous concept with a murder mystery. “Darkness can take over your life, even when you think you have everything under control,” notes Matt Ortega (Adam David), a high-school filmmaker who receives a mysterious package containing a DV tape depicting the torture and murder of his girlfriend Jessie (Valentina de Angelis). Read on…

Grief-stricken Matt then compiles his own cinematic memorial to the spirit of admittedly irresponsible, thrill-seeking Jessie, recounting the time they spent together – in preparation for a confrontation with the killer who dumped her body on the roadside in Topanga Canyon.

Eager to flee from her fractured, dysfunctional family in Colorado, Jessie responded to an ad that entices attractive young women to come to Los Angeles to embark on a modeling career.

After trying to dissuade her, Matt reluctantly offered to drive Jessie, cinematically documenting their scenic stops along the way.

“It’s easier to leave the people you love before they leave you,” she tells him.

Upon arrival at their destination, Matt and Jessie discover that her road to Tinseltown success will be littered with squalid intrigue and sordid encounters involving fetishes and bondage. Indeed, the first person they encounter at a Hollywood party is Guinevere Turner, who scripted “American Psycho.”

While Anthony Stabley adroitly establishes the emotional authenticity of their romantic relationship, Matt and Jessie, nevertheless, seem ill-suited to one another.

Matt exudes a sweet naïveté, rooted in emotional stability, while Jessie’s vulnerable volatility not only includes a preference for tight chokers because she likes the pressure on her neck but also a penchant for sado-masochistic sex.

Veteran thespians Elisabeth Rohm (“American Hustle”), Pat Healy (“Compliance”) and Michael Massee (“Se7en”) are memorable, while Jon Bickford’s cinematography is compelling.

FYI: Making its U.S. premiere at the 17th annual Nevermore Film Festival, “Everlasting” copped the Jury Award for Best Feature.

On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, “Everlasting” is a suspenseful, subversive 6, revealing the seedy underbelly of “La La Land.”

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Susan Granger

Susan Granger

Susan Granger is a product of Hollywood. Her natural father, S. Sylvan Simon, was a director and producer at R.K.O., M.G.M. and Columbia Pictures; her adoptive father, Armand Deutsch, produced movies at M.G.M. As a child, Susan appeared in movies with Abbott & Costello, Red Skelton, Lucille Ball, Margaret O'Brien and Lassie. She attended Mills College in California, studying journalism with Pierre Salinger, and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, Phi Beta Kappa, with highest honors in journalism. During her adult life, Susan has been on radio and television as an anchorwoman and movie/drama critic. Her newspaper reviews have been syndicated around the world, and she has appeared on American Movie Classics cable television. In addition, her celebrity interviews and articles have been published in REDBOOK, PLAYBOY, FAMILY CIRCLE, COSMOPOLITAN, WORKING WOMAN and THE NEW YORK TIMES, as well as in PARIS MATCH, ELLE, HELLO, CARIBBEAN WORLD, ISLAND LIFE, MACO DESTINATIONS, NEWS LIMITED NEWSPAPERS (Australia), UK DAILY MAIL, UK SUNDAY MIRROR, DS (France), LA REPUBBLICA (Italy), BUNTE (Germany), VIP TRAVELLER (Krisworld) and many other international publications through SSG Syndicate. Susan also lectures on the "Magic and Mythology of Hollywood" and "Don't Take It Personally: Conquering Criticism and other Survival Skills," originally published on tape by Dove Audio.