Monday, April 17, 2017

Dementia Movie Review: Like a Really Good Book You Can't Wait to Finish

Runtime: 90 minutes
Release Date: December 4, 2015
Rating: NR
Director: Mike Testin

Dementia opens with a war scene that shows a young man in the midst of battle before jumping to the present day. George is an older man who enjoys living on his own and playing chess over the phone with his friend Sam. When he hears a commotion outside, he looks out and sees two guys picking on a kid on a bike. He grabs his gun, fires it into the air, scares the bullies off, and then talks with the kid they bullied. The only odd thing is that he mistakenly refers to the kid as his own son.

After suffering a stroke, George also learns that he has dementia. His son, Jerry, and his granddaughter, Shelby, come to stay with him and decide what to do. Though Shelby is interested in learning more about her grandfather, Jerry just wants to put him in a home and move on with his life. He explains that his dad was mean and abusive and that after one particularly bad fight, his mom packed him up and took off. George built the house he lives in with his own two hands in the hopes that they would come back.

Michelle shows up on the doorstep and claims that the hospital sent her to check on George. Jerry then hires her to stay and look after George. It doesn't take long before Michelle begins telling George about things he did that he cannot remember. She claims that he started sleepwalking and leaving the house at night as well as making messes and picking fights with her for no reason. When George tries to fight back, she drugs him and tells his family that he's just exhibiting symptoms of dementia.

One night, George wakes up covered in blood and finds his cat mutilated. Michelle claims that he did it during a fit in the middle of the night, even though he loved that cat. Jerry things it's a little strange, but Shelby thinks it's suspicious and doesn't trust Michelle. When Michelle refuses to let friends visit and even stops Shelby from seeing him, the granddaughter decides to follow her and learn her secrets. George slowly begins having flashbacks to his time in the war and wondering what is real and what is a symptom of his dementia.

I don't say this a lot, but this was an extremely good film. Dementia is kind of like that mystery book that you start reading and have to keep telling yourself not to jump to the end and ruin it for you. I literally wanted to go online and see what happened because I was starting to doubt myself and doubt George too. The director does a really good job of setting things up in a way that makes you wonder if George is actually a reformed bad guy or whether he's still a bad guy at heart and whether Michelle is actually crazy or if she's just trying to help him. It puts you in the head of someone suffering from dementia because you don't know what is real or who you can trust.

Though Dementia got some surprisingly bad reviews online, it is a solid horror movie. The end to this film actually left me with my mouth hanging open as I tried to process everything. You'll never look at older people the same way after watching this one.

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