Aspiring filmmakers can always count on inspiration from a Marcus Adams production, if stuff this weak is actually making it into $11 Million productions there is hope for everyone no matter how semi-literate or imagination challenged. "Octane" aka "Pulse" looks like one of those productions that had its inception when a music video production designer stumbled across a neat looking industrial complex and got someone to cobble together a story to feature the set in something more than a music video. It looks like it was written on the back of a napkin at a truck stop because music video director Adams took huge liberties with Stephen Volk's script, and many of these changes were literally made on the set during shooting.
Rather than use the set in one of his music videos, Adams assembled a cast and shot a movie long on style and short on intelligence and substance. Imagine a nonsensical mix of "The Horse Whisperer", Rosemary's Baby", and "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre". Volk's original screenplay of a British mother and her 12 year-old daughter trapped in a car on a motorway they could not get off, was fundamentally altered. So much so that Volk seriously considered having his name omitted from the credits. Adams' "on the fly" changes destroyed any possibility of unity and logic. Confused viewers searching for hidden meaning and explanations are wasting their time, there is simply no method to the madness.
Madeleine Stowe suffers through this with a bad haircut and a general look of stunned surprise. Most likely due to having the her script change on a hourly basis. All this gives the movie a disjointed look.
Barton looks pretty used up until her love scene with the cult leader (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) when they put her in heavy eye makeup. With her anorexic face, gap teeth, and big eyes you can really see the Mia Farrow resemblance. Unfortunately Barton has a huge Cameron Diaz smile which tends to spoil the illusion. Her smile is the creepiest thing in the whole movie. Although contrived and silly this scene looks great and almost justifies making the movie-but it would have been much better as just a music video, duh.
Beware of a movie with multiple titles. Apparently "Octane" refers to the tank truck the cult uses for transportation and making merry, although it is actually a milk truck. Maybe they should have called it "Lactose". The how and why of the "Pulse" title remains a mystery, there is a hint about vampires but any explanation must have been on Volk's second napkin which he accidentally left behind at the truck stop.
Close viewing of "Octane" will also be an inspirational experience for aspiring editors as most high school video students are ahead of the movie's post-production people. A particularly glaring jump cut happens early when Stowe runs out of the path of a speeding truck. The long lens makes the truck appear to be about three feet from her as she scrambles out of the way, two seconds later they cut to a side shot and the truck is still several feet from reaching where she had been standing.
Think about it, with that same $11 Million to spend Dominique Swain could have cranked out eleven equally lousy movies.
Then again, what do I know? I'm only a child.