Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
Actors: Craig Bierko, Marisa Tomei, Regina Hall, Ridge Canipe, Kyle Gallner
Director: Ariel Vromen
Genres: Mystery & Suspense
Studio: First Look Home Entertain Release Date: 04/01/2008 Run time: 80 minutes Rating: R
An Impressive Thriller
Grady Harp | Los Angeles, CA United States | 12/31/2006
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Relatively new cinematic team of director Ariel Vromen and writer Joshua Leibner pounce onto the scene with a surprisingly fine little film that has basically gone unnoticed. DANIKA is a story that demands the viewer's careful attention and rewards that attention with a finely wrought surprise ending. This is a tough movie to review: almost anything that is said about it diminishes the impact of a fresh look.
Danika (the superb and grossly underused actress Marisa Tomei) is a beautiful, well-dressed successful professional woman, loved by her husband Randy (Craig Bierko) and her children Kurt (Kyle Gallner), Lauren (Nicki Prian) and Brian (Ridge Canipe). Yet even from the opening scenes we can tell something is amiss: Danika 'sees' disturbing things, terrifying events and people that alter her attention to her job and her family. She visits a young psychiatrist Evelyn (Regina Hall) who becomes her confidant - the only person who accepts that Danika is witnessing disturbing sights. A mixture of critical pieces of disastrous events flash before Danika's eyes as well as flashbacks to some years back when her children were young. Danika overcompensates for her fears by being an overprotective mother, an unfortunate trait that begins to fracture her family.
The pace of the film changes to rapid fire events as the reasons for Danika's visions become clear: we finally see just what made this brilliant and strong woman the victim of a terrified and disturbed psyche and the manner in which each of the characters in the story impacts this discovery is well-illuminated. The surprise ending scene is a stunner and one that will haunt the viewer.
Marisa Tomei makes this very difficult, well-written role completely believable. She is an actress of enormous gifts. Likewise the remainder of the cast offers such fine ensemble work that credit must be given director Ariel Vromen for being a young talent on the rise. Yes, there are some portions of the film that beg credibility but then that is what delusional thinking is about. This is a tight little film that deserves attention. Grady Harp, December 06
An overlooked gem in the crowded field of psychological thri
Daniel Jolley | Shelby, North Carolina USA | 06/02/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Marisa Tomei has always been one of my favorite actresses. With that pretty face, gorgeous red hair, and animated spirit, she should be one of America's biggest stars. She's won an Oscar, for goodness' sake, so no one can doubt her acting abilities. Why, then, does it seem like such a rare treat to actually see her play the central role in a film? The woman is fabulous in Danika. Say what you like about the story (it's one of those psychological thrillers, so audience reaction will inevitably be somewhat divided), but Marisa Tomei turns in a gripping, very believable performance.
Every parent (well, every good parent, anyway) wants desperately to protect his/her family, especially the children, so in this respect Danika (Tomei) is basically no different than the vast majority of wives and mothers in the world. All of a sudden, though, her life has taken a turn toward the surreal. She begins having awful visions which lead her to seek psychiatric help after what can only be described as a psychotic episode at work. Not only does she see awful things happening to her husband and kids, she also has psychic-like visions of other kids dying in horrible ways, and these things come about in such a way that she feels as if she could have saved them. This leads her to become ever more obsessive in terms of protecting her own family, and we all know how teens and pre-teens react to overprotective mothers. A lesser actress couldn't have played this role effectively, as the story is surreal and sometimes confusing as the tension builds toward a pretty powerful conclusion.
As with all psychological thrillers, the proof of the pudding is ultimately in the ending. It is possible to figure out, to some degree, what is really going on here - I picked up on it from the preview alone, although I didn't predict the final machination of the emotional climax - but I don't think it matters much whether you figure things out on your own or not. The emotional power of the final minutes is not to be denied, and the whole movie leaves you with plenty of food for thought. It's the kind of ending that viewers will want to discuss with one another after the fact, and I think that is a sign of the story's ultimate effectiveness. Any movie in this genre is going to draw one-star reviews from those who claim not to get it, but I think the majority of viewers will find this movie spellbinding and emotionally jarring."
Anthony Richards | Wash DC | 12/31/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In my oppinion Marisa Tomei is a really great actress...and this movie proves it, she gave a very believeablle performance...I really wouldn't call this movie horror, but deff a thriller, and the endind will blow you away...i never saw that comming"
Too much underscoring
jojo | 04/23/2007
(1 out of 5 stars)
"This was a terrible movie. It started off with a feeling of suspense that never had a break. The sound/music designer should have been held back - this movie would have been better had some scenes not been underscored at all. We got bored with the constant Danika episodes that never moved the story along. Various potential plot elements (a missing girl, a schoolteacher) were introduced but turned out to have no relevance to the eventual end of the movie. I recommend Jacob's Ladder instead."