MVD Entertainment Group will be guiding the Listen Films, LLC production of writer/director of Khalil Sullins’ Listening to the DVD market place on July 26.
If they had two nickels to rub together, David (Thomas Stroppel — The Falls: Testament of Love, Bucksville) and Ryan (Artie Ahr — Immigrant) would be richer by ten cents. They are flat broke, their personal lives are in disarray, but they think — no, make that, they know — that they might just have the next BIG thing.
David and his best buddy, Ryan, are life-long friends and grad students at Cal Tech, who have pilfered enough equipment to land them in jail on felony charges and have spirited said loot away to David’s garage so that they can conduct research on mind control; mental telepathy.
As the film begins, this little experiment is in something of a “feedback” loop in that they can’t quite get it right. A fellow student named Jordan (Amber Marie Bollinger) gets wind of their secret and joins in … and that’s when things get interesting. There’s a spark and they are able to move to the next level.
Now, if the trio would have bought a DVD copy of director Joel Schumacher’s 1990 film, Flatliners, and watched it, a lesson might have been learned that would have saved them — and those close to them — a lot of trouble and pain. But then Sullins — and this is his debut as a filmmaker — wouldn’t have much of a story to tell.
Once the trio, and in particular David, have their breakthrough and are able to first read another’s thoughts — there’s a fun bit involving David and his wife, Melanie (Christine Haeberman) — and then engage in actual brain/thought manipulation, things for them go downhill quickly.
We, as viewers, are privy to a little piece of information that David, Ryan and Jordan are not. It seems that a secret government agency is working along the same lines, but with less than successful results (albeit deadly). Once Matthews (Steve Hanks), the titular head of this clandestine “research group,” tumbles to the David’s success it is just a matter of time before their world’s collide.
Writer/director Khalil Sullins has delivered a solid sci-fi thriller, with special kudos to cinematographer Blake McClure (who won the ACE Award for his work on the television series, Drunk History), who brings his skill set to Listening and elevates the end product well beyond the indie micro-budget sphere.
In short, Listening, is slick, well-produced, blessed with a solid story and has a great third act that will satisfy all. Don’t be surprised if a studio executive picks up a copy of Listening on July 26 and sees the potential of remaking this little gem as a major studio production (think: Kevin Bacon as Matthews)!
Bonus features include a Q&A session with filmmaker Khalil Sullins and members of the cast and crew at the Sci-Fi-London Film Festival and pair of featurettes — “Making the Score” and “A Look Into Editing Listening.”