Cammack is a small town in rural Indiana, a quiet, isolated place. No shopping malls, just a general store with a rusty old sign. One autumn day, a suspicious van equipped with a parabolic antenna rolls into town and begins prowling the roads around Cammack, its occupants leaving strange marks and indicators along their path. The truck is sending out electromagnetic frequencies, which seem to have increasingly unpleasant effects on certain inhabitants -- effects that degenerate from nausea and depression through self-mutilation to deadly madness. The expression “Return In Red” is military code, used to designate fatal experiment results.
What at first sight might seem like an X Files episode or a paranoid disaster-exploitation film from the ’70s is actually a remarkable film d’auteur crafted with mastery and restraint that should please George Romero's fans. Director Tyler Tharpe trusts the patience and intelligence of his public, and dispenses with cheap manipulation. Filmed in 16mm, the aesthetic quality of Return In Red recalls the American gothic painters of the beginning of the 20th century, and the pacing is slow, deliberate and mesmerizing as it takes the time to present the principal characters in their daily life, and evoke a few poetic moments (notably certain premonitory nightmares). A resonantly natural quality in the actors and in the picturesque setting of the film lends credibility to, and even accentuates, the bloodsoaked climax towards which Tharpe’s slow-burning film has been edging. Throughout, employing a variety of ingenious angles and unsettling sound flourishes, Tharpe generates psychological suspense of rare efficiency. Return In Red draws on scientific data as well as information from American military and government reports -- notably on weapons testing tests in certain remote American town in the ’50s, and the Orange Agent case of the ’50s and ’60s. A stark, hypnotic reminder that the real world, even its most idyllic corners, can be home to the most frightening nightmares. This new unreleased extended Director's cut includes 10 minutes of unseen material in the final climax scene.
—Marc Lamothe (translated by Rupert Bottenberg)
3 out of 4 stars! : “Well-sustained suspense sequences and startling bursts of mayhem. The gritty 16mm lensing and marvelously moody lighting by IN THE COMPANY OF MEN's Tony Hettinger helps fuel the movie's slow-burning tension.”
Michael Gingold, Fangoria
“RETURN IN RED operates like a stick of dynamite with an eighty foot fuse. With a fiery opening quote, an engaging spark is lit that's destined to travel towards an explosive finale. The climax delivers a shot to the stomach as a direct result of such an intimate connection with the town. And, boy, the ending is quite an interesting sight to see.”
WORLD PREMIERE of the DIRECTOR’S CUT
Hosted by Writer/Director TYLER THARPE
Director: Tyler Tharpe
Screenplay: Tyler Tharpe
Cast: J.J. Huckin
Producers: Tyler Tharpe
Distributor: Image Entertainment