Omar Naim is a director who had a very strange career: after a couple of Lebanese documentaries (the guy is from Beirut), he landed on Hollywood where his debut fictional movie was The Final Cut (2004), a somewhat underrated thriller starring the late Robin Williams, alongside Jim Caviezel and Mira Sorvino. Since The Final Cut flopped massively, Naim couldn’t find any producer to back up his projects, until he made Dead Awake in 2010, which is literally one of the worst horror movies I’ve ever seen.
10 years later, out of the blue, Omar Naim came back with Becoming, produced by Gravitas Ventures. Simply because of Naim’s strange career, I was curious to check this movie out. On top of that, Becoming is based around a concept reminiscent of Invasion of the Body Snatchers, which is something I always find fascinating. Furthermore, this movie is filled with familiar faces: the lead character is played by Toby Kebbell, and crucial roles are played by Jeff Daniel Philips (one of Rob Zombie’s aficionados), Jason Patric (Michael from The Lost Boys), Beth Broderick (one of the aunts in Sabrina, the Teenage Witch) and Lew Temple (a great character actor).
Continue reading and check my final grade below…
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Becoming – plot and surprises
After a great opening scene, which is easily the best part of the movie, we follow Alex (Toby Kebbell) and Lisa (Penelope Mitchell), a newly engaged and deeply in love couple. While on a road trip, they encounter an ancient evil force that chooses Alex as its new host and begins to slowly take over his mind and body, gradually transforming him into someone terrifying and violent. During the road trip, Alex and Lisa meet a bunch of people who either try to warn the woman or attempt to stop Alex.
Told through the lenses of a road movie, which is a rather cool idea, Becoming benefits from a washed-out look that help setting a rather dour tone. The soundtrack is, also, surprisingly effective, eerie and original for the most part, as it’s implemented well in most sequences. Aside from a couple of cheap jump-scares, Becoming manages to have a bunch of frightening scenes that are clearly planned out in a thoughtful way. In general, the first act of this movie is quite unsettling and mysterious, which comes from a combination of creepy concepts, scary bits, thought-out look and well-done sound-design.
Evolving or devolving?
Unfortunately, the effective opening act is followed by a very anti-climactic continuation. In fact, as it goes on, Becoming becomes progressively less interesting and duller. Part of this is due to the road trip gimmick, which only great filmmakers can make enticing and consistent throughout the whole runtime: here, instead, the pacing is quite jarring, and the story becomes more boring as the scenes go by.
Also, Becoming is not a well-directed movie at all. This was hidden quite well during the first 30 minutes, as the enticing concept and intrinsically creepy ideas brought up were enough to keep the viewer on the edge. As the movie is supposed to intensify and grow more intense, every confrontation just doesn’t play out well: the set-ups feel silly and poorly-written, the pay-offs are goofy and cheap-looking. There’s even a scene where an actor looks straight into the camera, clearly by mistake. And they kept the take in the movie.
Annoying characters portrayed poorly
Aside from Alex (before his body is taken over), there isn’t a single likeable character in the movie. Everyone is rather annoying in Becoming, whether this is due to bad writing or the actors overdoing it in a misguided attempt at delivering emotions. On top of that, every decision they make is the most illogical and stupid they could make, which obviously doesn’t help them becoming relatable.
Luckily, bad acting and poor writing become so awful during the climax of the movie that it’s ironically entertaining to watch. Although this isn’t exactly a compliment, I’ll take a hilariously bad scene over a dull sequence every day!
Becoming starts off strong and interesting, but slowly turns into a cheap, boring and poorly-made flick. Aside from the first 30 minutes, which are mostly very good, there are elements of quality sprinkled throughout. Unfortunately, these elements aren’t enough to warrant a recommendation and are overshadowed by terrible acting, unrelatable characters, poor production values, dull visuals and so on and so forth.
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