Ultrasound @ Fantasia Film Festival

A sci-fi thriller that oozes tension and darkness. You are never really sure what is going to happen next in Rob Schroeder’s (director from 2014-19 for Variety’s Actors on Actors series) film Ultrasound. Despite his extensive experience in the film and television world as a producer, writer and director this is actually his first feature film. Here he demonstrates the requisite elements to successfully construct a film of this sort. A steady hand and a clear mind about what he is doing – important attributes for a director to demonstrate.

Late one night while driving home during a heavy rainstorm, Glen (Vincent Kartheiser – from television’s Mad Men) runs into some bad luck. Well, actually, plenty of bad luck. First, his car gets stuck and then he asks help from a strange couple he should have completely avoided.

Car stuck and rain pelting down, thankfully for Glen he spots a house nearby. After knocking on the door, he is greeted by a middle-aged man, Arthur (Bob Stephenson – Lady Bird, Fight Club), and his younger wife, Cyndi (Chelsea Lopez – Novitiate). They invite him in and offer Glen a drink. An offer he can’t refuse but should have.

At the same time, this is happening but elsewhere, Katie (Rainey Qualley – Ocean’s 8, Perfect) is going through some romantic issues which are akin to gaslighting. At another setting – this time a research facility – medical professional Shannon begins to wonder about the work she is doing. Is it actually good? All these seemingly unrelated stories end up converging into something. Something which will be part fun and part making your stomach tie up in knots as you watch.

Mystery/creepiness abounds here. The film is based on a graphic novel called Generous Bosom written by Conor Stechshulte, who also penned the screenplay. No matter how many times you think that you are on top of things; that you know what is coming up next, time and time again you are shown to be wrong. That is good writing and good setup by the director Schroeder. Its darkness of tone and look is matched by its occasional foray into humour. Will remind older (and even younger) viewers of the type of story you would often get during an episode of The Twilight Zone.

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