A family is waiting angiously for Brad to come back home. He has been sent home from the military because he has been paralyzed by a mysterious and unknown accident. Now the family are finally gonna get to meet their loved relative after all this time, but he soon becomes a worry for the entire family when his condition slightly gets worse and worse.
I'll get this out of the way - I have been witnessing Toetag Pictures (actually, Toetag Inc. now, but I will continue to call them "TTP" or "Toetag") getting slightly worse with each film since "The Redsin Tower". I wasn't too impressed with "Murder Collection Vol. 1", but have openly said that the effects are fantastic, and I guess with a film like that you don't need much more really. With "Maskhead" I was left disappointed 'cause I feel it didn't live up to what Toetag is to me. I thought the writing was good, it had plenty of dialogue and Scott Swan seem to know how to make that work, even if not to perfection in his directorial debut. But yeah, it is safe to say that I was scared "Sella Turcica" would be another step down for them. But I am relieved to say that it holds up very well to what they did previous to those two.
They've taken a huge step forward in terms of storytelling with this one, even next to "The Redsin Tower" which I liked a lot (the final part of that film makes it survive through any flaws, if you ask me). With "Sella Turcica" you have a really good dramatic story about a soldier coming home because of a mysterious accident which has left him with paralyzed legs. In time he gets worse and worse, and eventually there's little-to-no part of Brad left in that body. There are some similiar things to "Deathdream" in that, but not the execution. Atleast not what I can remember from "Deathdream", since I haven't watched it since I was a kid or so. The story is well told and it gives you enough info to believe it and never too much. You kinda feel for the family already from the beginning when he arrives and that's an achievement. The story part of the film wasn't a problem to my surprise, but there are a few things that kept this from being a masterpiece for me. I am struggling to explain what I mean but I will try my hardest.
As good as it was as a drama movie, I had a hard time enjoying it as much when it turns to horror. It's kinda weird how I am on the opposite side of "The Redsin Tower" - that one was kinda so-and-so to begin with but became amazing when stuff kicked in and thus I still prefer that film to this one. Here we have maybe 70-80 minutes that are really good and give us a great build up. A believable build-up, most importantly. The characters are good, the acting isn't terrible (hints of bad acting will always be present in independent films, but I think this has the best acting for Toetag since the "August Underground" films). It's just that when the horror kicks in there's no real tension or care for the family anymore. It just turns into a gore movie, and as weird it is to say it - I wanted something bigger than that. With that said, there are two moments in the final part that I really liked, be it for the inner child in me (I can't explain this any further, sorry) or because it worked on a dramatic level. The latter I can explain - it's a scene where Brad comes limping through the hallway while the mother (played by Camille Keaton) is trying to hide. That felt like a good, dramatic moment. But it quickly turns to just gore to get it out there again.
We all love Toetag for their effects. It doesn't matter if you dislike their films - if you like horror you will like their effects. Jerami Cruise has made some of the best effects out there and we all agree on that. But it's also dangerous for them because after a while people expect top-notch stuff around every corner. One problem with "Sella Turcica" is that I think they got a bit too bold. Especially with such a bright movie, there's no hiding at all here. I just felt that the killings, or rather those that involved heads, didn't look as good as they would have needed to for me to really stay hooked in the movie. They took me out of the movie, and when that happens twice in a short period of time, I can't help but say that's a bad thing. But are these two "bad" effects terrible in comparision to other films? Maybe not, they aren't shit, but they weren't realistic enough for me. I was kinda let down by that. Although, the animatronics are fantastic, and the one scene I referred to earlier (the one that my inner child enjoyed) was definitely the best effect in the film.
"Sella Turcica" is their best film since "The Redsin Tower", but the final part of it wasn't as good as the rest and that kinda bothered me. I am highly impressed that they made a film that was this good in the drama department however, I will give them that. Ultimately it is a good movie. Amazing masterpiece? No, not really. It starts as a good drama, but the ending is just a mediocre horror movie with above-standard effects. It's not a movie I would look too much into either, I'm not sure I get much more out of it than a good drama movie when all is said and done. The ending is gory, just like you want it to be in a Toetag film, but don't watch the film for that because it's sadly also the part of the film I enjoyed less. It's shocking to say it, but it's true! I hope Toetag continues in this fashion though, they are back on track.