The Black String is a 2018 horror film co-written, produced, & directed by Brian Hanson. It was co-written & produced by Richard Handley (Trilogue, Hourglass, Closure, & Quality Time). Jonathan (played by: Frankie Muniz from Malcolm in the Middle, My Dog Skip, Deuces Wild, & Stay Alive), a lonely 20something rapidly losing his grip on reality. After Jonathan hooks up with sexy Dena (played by: Chelsea Edmundson from Midnight Texas, Bloodsucka Jones, Howlers, & Altitude) through a swinger’s hotline, he becomes incredibly ill. Suffering from blackouts and hallucinations, Jonathan’s life begins to fall apart. He becomes convinced that he’s the helpless victim of an evil cult lead by the Man in Black (played by: Cullen Douglas from Criminal Minds, Pure Genius, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., & The Possession of Michael King) & The Unknown (played by: Oded Fehr from The Mummy franchise, Resident Evil franchise, Young Justice, & Deuce Bigalow 1/2) that’s cursed him with deadly mystical forces beyond his control. Dr. Jason Ronaldi (played by: Richard Handley from Finding Fortune & Battleground: The Art of War), family, & his friend Eric (played by: Blake Webb from from 13 Reasons Why, NCIS, & Criminal Minds) try to help him out during this strange time. Is this supernatural threat real or all in Jonathan’s troubled mind????
Have you ever wanted to see Malcolm go batshit crazy? The Black String has some really nice special fx for being such a small independent feature. It had a few solid gruesome & creepy visuals in it. That’s one of the best things about the entire production. Frankie Muniz shines here, he gives the bravest performance of his career. He proves that he’s more than a child actor or TV star with this flick. He goes from a normal guy that stays to himself to a man losing his grip on reality with his time running out. It’s almost like he’s playing two different people. It’s more psychological than anything with a little of the body horror sub-genre thrown in the mix. Character actor Oded Fehr boosted the quality of this with his small supporting uncredited role, he is very mysterious & it really made you curious about his motives in this whole bizarre world. Chelsea Edmundson is beautiful & she provided some much needed eye candy for this strange ride. The rest of the cast were okay but no one else stood out besides the few that I mentioned. The script was all over the place & kinda incoherent at times. I felt like it tried way too hard to be weird during Jonathan’s breakdown & it didn’t provide enough information for a consistent story line. It had some interesting ideas but it didn’t stay focused enough on them to take advantage of the better material here. I will say that I enjoyed the ending to this. The Black String still has a few redeeming qualities to it so I’d RECOMMEND checking it out especially of you are a fan of Muniz, body horror, psychological horror, & independent features!!!!
Let’s discuss the special features from Lionsgate! It has an “Audio Commentary” with writer/producer/director Brian Hanson & producer Charles Bunce. “String Theory: The Making of The Black String” is almost 17 minutes. It has interviews with director Brian Hanson, writer Richard Handley, actors Frankie Muniz, Chelsea Edmundson, Cullen Douglas, & various members of the production. They chat about how the project started. They talk about how it was planned to be small but it turned into something bigger than a thesis film like they originally talked about. They bring up getting other people involved with producing. It has some behind the scenes footage. Frankie Muniz said he really wanted this role after reading the script so he went down & auditioned for the lead. He mentions that it’s his most grown up performance so far & it’s nothing like you ever seen from him before. Chelsea Edmundson, says it has a Donnie Darko vibe to it. They both chat about their filming experience from the production. They give praise & talk about working with the director. Brian Hanson brings up a few of his influences & he says he wanted to make something that he would watch. Frankie Muniz compares doing smaller features like this to the big studio ones that he did in the past. “Deleted Scenes and Alternate Takes” is a little over 5 minutes. I can see why these were cut but it’s a nice little bonus. It has a “Trailer” for the movie. It also has a “Trailer Gallery” featuring a variety of Lionsgate films. It’s available everywhere right now, CHECK IT OUT!!!!