The Holly Kane Experiment (2017) Review
Driven by fear of insanity, experimental psychologist Holly Kane (Kirsty Averton), is researching mind control techniques in a quest to control her unconscious thoughts. While experimenting with drug-fuelled subliminal programming two very different men enter her life.
Holly is swept off her feet by Dennis Macintyre (James Rose), a handsome 35-year-old who seems to be impulsive and vulnerable, but what is he hiding? Then there’s the mysterious Marvin Greenslade (Nicky Henson), a celebrated 73-year-old psychologist who seems to have the power and influence to give her career a much-needed boost, with the promise of facilitating the clinical trials that will legitimise Holly’s experiments. But can Marvin be trusted?
Descending into paranoia and madness, can Holly discover the truth about what is happening to her before it’s too late?
Penned by father-son duo, writer-director team Mick Sands (Three Acts) and Tom Sands (Backtrack), The Holly Kane Experiment is a vast improvement on their feature debut 2014’s Backtrack – Nazi Vengeance. Both the production values and the acting are of a higher standard than they were with Backtrack however The Holly Kane Experiment has the same issue in terms of the direction and writing. This is a shame as the film appears to have so much promise, with its fast-paced scene-setting opening, before running out of ideas and momentum.
The Holly Kane Experiment proves difficult to engage with it. You don’t care about anyone, nothing really makes much sense and a reasonable cast are squandered on a meandering script and aimless direction that fails to make for an engaging or coherent viewing. It becomes dull, very dull, very quickly. I grew tired of the endless meetings that took place in bars or restaurants; it began to feel like I was watching a promo for places to relax with friends in Brighton rather than a taut thriller.
It aims for highbrow and intelligent but ends up festering in a muddied pool of its own making, pandering to stereotype. Moments of The Holly Kane Experiment are akin to hearing a child use a naughty word out loud for the first time and feeling a bit smug and clever for doing so, there’s nothing new here but you get the feeling that the writer and director felt that certain things that they threw into the mix would ‘shock’ when they don’t.
It’s a shame as at the start I really felt that the writing-directing team had upped their game, unfortunately they had just upped their budget but the writing and direction remained as stiff and dull as their debut. Fair game to them though, they have managed to make not just one, but two feature films now and that’s not easy, even more so with getting the film distributed, so I imagine they are really good at pitching their ideas to distribution companies and to the actors involved, perhaps next time they can work on making a film that actually engages the viewer too.