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FLOODING

It’s always great, after sitting through hours of no-budget trash, to be rewarded by a film of real merit...especially after you’ve spent part of that time viewing something like FLOODING!  Certainly there are worse amateur horror films than this one, but there are also many, many, many, many better ones.  

The Package  
     FLOODING (1997) was released on VHS as part of the “First Rites” video series that was distributed through Hollywood Video in the US and Rodgers Video in Canada, and whose ranks included no-budgeters like IMPOLITE, THE WIDOWER, HORROR UP NORTH, BORN TO LOSE and FALLOUT.  (Never heard of those films?  Don’t worry, not too many others have, either!)  The series seemed like a great idea at the time, an excellent way to showcase worthy films from first time filmmakers that were overlooked by mainstream distributors.  Unfortunately, the sad truth is that with the vast majority of FR titles, there was a damn good reason they were overlooked! 
    About FLOODING’S background, there’s not a whole lot to be said.  It was made for very little money (that much is obvious) in various Southern California locations by first time filmmaker (that much is obvious, too) Todd Portugal, who admits in his pre-film “Mission Statement” that he was deliberately aping Alfred Hitchcock...or attempting to, at least! 

The Story 
     Joyce is enjoying a day at a carnival with her loving hubbie--but suddenly he’s shot by an unseen assailant!  Joyce becomes a basket case suffering from agoraphobia (fear of the outside), and so stays shut in her house.  Her best friend Evelyn persuades her to answer ads in the personal column of her local newspaper in order to assuage her loneliness.  The first of Joyce’s dates is a dweeb who she nonetheless allows to have sex with her; she throws him out after he finishes, but then a man she’s never seen before comes staggering into her living room and promptly dies.  Cops are called, who when they arrive are skeptical of Joyce’s claims that she had nothing to do with the death, especially when she reveals the name of the guy she had sex with, which turns out to be that of the stranger who now lies dead on her living room floor.
     Her pretty boy shrink Hank is the only bright spot in Joyce’s life, but he insists upon keeping their relationship platonic.  Enter date number two, who’s an even bigger drip than the first.  Joyce throws him out pre-sex, but he lets himself back into the house later on to finish what he believes they started.  Shortly afterward there’s another break-in, this time by date #1, who saves Joyce from being raped by drowning date #2 in her bathtub.  It seems date #1 busted in on the orders of a third party who’s paid him to retrieve an incriminating videotape in Joyce’s possession.  In order to find out just who that third party is, however, Joyce will have to overcome her agoraphobia and--gasp!--leave the house. 

The Direction 
     This isn’t called an amateur film for nothing: the photography is cheap, the acting uniformly stilted and the direction by Todd Portugal (who also wrote and produced) alternates between staid and outright clumsy.  Worse, much of it is plain BORING, with by the numbers camerawork in service of the standard wide/medium/close-up series of shots.  There’s also a fumbled attempt at Hitchcockian suspense in the climactic bathtub drowning scene (ruined by the fact that none of the participants look particularly nonplussed) and a poorly edited chase through an amusement park that closes things out. 
     That’s not even taking into account the exceedingly dumb, implausible storyline, which further suffers from dialogue exchanges that drag on and on, most notably an interminable nine minute yakfest between the protagonist and her shrink that exists solely to establish her agoraphobia.  The scene in question points up another of the film’s major flaws in the way Portugal uses scads of dialogue to explain what he should be showing us.  Certainly that’s a lesson any true Hitchcock devotee should know intimately!


Vital Statistics 

FLOODING
Greenlight Productions

Director/Producer/Screenplay: Todd Portugal
Cinematography: Roland Canamar
Editing: Noel Guerra, Todd Portugal
Cast: Brenna Gibson, Lauren Bailey, Greg Fawcett, Dominic Dirito, Randy McLeod, Jeremy Flynn, Jack Turturici
 


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