When you have a small review site and get a Twitter DM from the director of a film, it’s a big deal. I still get excited every time it happens – probably because it doesn’t happen that often. So, I was excited to sit down and watch Crisis Hotline after writer/director Mark Schwab reached out over Twitter to see if I’d be interested in reviewing the film. Branded an LGBT Thriller, I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I knew that Mark had to be a passionate creator since he was proactively reaching out for reviews.
There were two things that stood out to me about this film. The first was that this movie is a thriller. I feel like a lot of the time films are put into sub-genres (LGBT Thriller vs Thriller) when they aren’t good enough to stand on their own in the genre. This film definitely stands on its own. There were several times that I found myself on the edge of my seat, curious to know what would happen next. I normally try to avoid searching for films online, but, in this case, I wasn’t familiar with the cast, the director, or the movie, so I wanted to do a bit of research. I saw several mentions of this film being a horror-thriller. I disagree with that sentiment, I don’t know that the horror qualifier fits here. I would say, if anything, this movie is a psychological thriller. The second thing is that this movie is disturbing. It will likely leave you feeling uncomfortable and in need of a shower. I think that the viewer’s emotional response is probably best compared to Joel Schumacher’s 8MM, what you see play out on screen (and off) will shake you to your very core.
The movie begins with lines from Yeats’s poem The Second Coming:
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhereThe ceremony of innocence is drowned;The best lack all conviction, while the worstAre full of passionate intensity.
As generations feel more and more disconnected from one another, it has become easier to give in to that desperate need to connect and ignore clear warning signs when the person you’ve just met might not have your best interests in mind. Especially when you are young and emotionally (and sexually) inexperienced.It was these thoughts that helped me shape “Crisis Hotline” as a psychological LGBT/Thriller tackling the issues of suicide, sex, social media (and how relationships are created from it) and online exploitation, all wrapped up in a race-against-time thriller. I wanted to make a true genre film that still had a social point of view and dealt maturely and honestly with gay male sexuality and how challenging it is to form healthy love relationships in the age of online phone apps.
Movie title: Crisis Hotline
Movie description: The newest feature film from Diamond in the Rough is an LGBT thriller about a young man who calls a suicide hotline operator who threatens to kill three people before killing himself. We then flashback to the events leading up to the grim circumstances as the crisis center attempts to trace the caller and keep him on the line before he kills.
Date published: 2019-06-11
Director(s): Mark Schwab
Actor(s): Corey Jackson, Pano Tsaklas, August Browning, Mike Mizwicki, Christian Gabriel, Christopher Fung, Michael Champlin
White Knuckle Flick