By Lorna Baker
Today’s review is of the independent film Everlasting, released in 2016 by Super Grande Films. The movie is written and directed by Anthony Stabley.
Everlasting tells the story of Matt (Adam David), a high school student filmmaker who sets out to find the killer of his girlfriend, Jessie (Valentina de Angelis). Using home video footage of the couple, and present day shots, we journey to uncover the horrifying circumstances of why this young life is cut short.
This is Stabley’s first feature film, both for his writing and direction – and he handles Everlasting with surprising confidence. He crafts a story that weaves the love affair between Matt and Jessie, and the side-plot of Matt’s hunt for information on Jessie’s killer. With two distinct strands to our story, told in a non-linear way, this could trip up the unexperienced; but Stabley handles it excellently. The voice over that he crafts for his central character Matt, is both heart breaking and haunting. He demonstrates the good and the bad in the pair of lovers but also in society; the film strikes up a remarkably good balance between the two.
The two leads are captivating, showing their vulnerability despite their strong, gothic exterior. The sweet, caring shots of the couple living their free-spirited lives in sunny Colorado look stunning with the juxtaposition of the grimy look to the modelling house and the shots of Matt on the killer’s trail. David and de Angelis are able to bring through the troubled nature of their characters whilst still providing moments of lightness and love.
For an independent film, with a fraction of the budget of the blockbuster dramas, it’s incredibly well made. The camerawork is beautiful and the score is superb; creating a tense and unsettling atmosphere throughout. Everlasting is also extremely well edited, cutting between the story with ease, whilst maintaining the foreboding atmosphere and palpable levels of tension.
If I could bring up one gripe in this film, it would be the shot calling of the killer. The confrontation scene with Matt is certainly spine-chilling, but it's more that it's not a surprise for which character is the killer. We are treated to fleeting glimpses of a shady character and whilst we can’t definitively connect Matt and the suspect throughout the film (as we are shown only the back of this man dressed in a black leather jacket and black hat); it does arouse suspicion. But this, of course, is a mere quibble to an otherwise excellent and haunting film!
Ultimately this is a film of two parts, a romance between two teenagers struggling with life and family issues, but also a murder mystery in the seedy underbelly of glitzy Los Angeles. It’s an unusual combination for a crime drama, but it works, giving us a rare insight into the murder victim’s life. Everlasting is a chilling tale, haunting the viewer long after the credits roll, but it ends somewhat happily, showing us the everlasting nature of love. This tale is a fascinating watch.
Cineroom’s Rating: 4 Stars
Everlasting is now out on Amazon and available on iTunes from next month.